George Washington was an American political leader, military general and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government, he has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was named a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Commanding General of the nation's Continental Army. Washington allied with France, in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Once victory for the United States was in hand in 1783, Washington resigned his commission. Washington played a key role in the adoption and ratification of the Constitution and was elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections.
He implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty, he set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "President of the United States", his Farewell Address is regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism. Washington utilized slave labor and trading African American slaves, but he became troubled with the institution of slavery and freed them in his 1799 will, he was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, he urged tolerance for all religions in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." He has been memorialized by monuments, geographical locations and currency, many scholars and polls rank him among the top American presidents. Washington's great-grandfather John Washington immigrated in 1656 from Sulgrave, England to the British Colony of Virginia where he accumulated 5,000 acres of land, including Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River.
George Washington was born February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County and was the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father was a justice of the peace and a prominent public figure who had three additional children from his first marriage to Jane Butler; the family moved to Little Hunting Creek to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia. When Augustine died in 1743, Washington inherited ten slaves. Washington did not have the formal education that his older brothers received at Appleby Grammar School in England, but he did learn mathematics and surveying, he was talented in draftsmanship and map-making. By early adulthood, he was writing with "considerable force" and "precision."Washington visited Mount Vernon and Belvoir, the plantation that belonged to Lawrence's father-in-law William Fairfax, which fueled ambition for the lifestyle of the planter aristocracy. Fairfax became Washington's patron and surrogate father, Washington spent a month in 1748 with a team surveying Fairfax's Shenandoah Valley property.
He received a surveyor's license the following year from the College of Mary. He resigned from the job in 1750 and had bought 1,500 acres in the Valley, he owned 2,315 acres by 1752. In 1751, Washington made his only trip abroad when he accompanied Lawrence to Barbados, hoping that the climate would cure his brother's tuberculosis. Washington contracted smallpox during that trip, which immunized him but left his face scarred. Lawrence died in 1752, Washington leased Mount Vernon from his widow. Lawrence's service as adjutant general of the Virginia militia inspired Washington to seek a commission, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him as a major in December 1752 and as commander of one of the four militia districts; the British and French were competing for control of the Ohio Valley at the time, the British building forts along the Ohio River and the French doing between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. In October 1753, Dinwiddie appointed Washington as a special envoy to demand that the French vacate territory which the British had claimed.
Dinwiddie appointed him to make peace with the Iroquois Confederacy and to gather intelligence about the French forces. Washington met with Half-King Tanacharison and other Iroquois chiefs at Logstown to secure their promise of support against the French, his party reached the Ohio River in November, they were intercepted by a French patrol and escorted to Fort Le Boeuf where Washington was received in a friendly manner. He delivered the British demand to vacate to French commander Saint-Pierre, but the French refused to leave. Saint-Pierre gave Washington his official answer in a sealed envelope after a few days' delay, he gave Washington's party food and extra winter clothing for the trip back to Virginia. Washington completed the precarious mission in 77 days in difficult winter conditions and achieved a measure of distinction when his report was published in Virginia and London. In February 1754, Dinwiddie promoted Washington to lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the 300-strong Virginia R
Physical history of the United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence, which announced that the thirteen American colonies at war with Great Britain were no longer a part of the British Empire, exists in a number of drafts, handwritten copies, published broadsides. The earliest known draft of the Declaration of Independence is a fragment known as the "Composition Draft." The draft, written in July 1776, is in the handwriting of Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration. It was discovered in 1947 by historian Julian P. Boyd in the Jefferson papers at the Library of Congress. Boyd was examining primary documents for publication in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson when he found the document, a piece of paper that contains a small part of the text of the Declaration, as well as some unrelated notes made by Jefferson. Prior to Boyd's discovery, the only known draft of the Declaration had been a document known as the "Rough Draft"; the discovery confirmed speculation by historians that Jefferson must have written more than one draft of the text.
Many of the words from the Composition Draft were deleted by Congress from the final text of the Declaration. Phrases from the fragment to survive the editing process include "acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation" and "hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."Forensic examination has determined that the paper of the Composition Draft and the paper of the Rough Draft were made by the same manufacturer. In 1995, conservators at the Library of Congress undid some previous restoration work on the fragment and placed it in a protective mat; the document is stored in a cold storage vault. When it is exhibited, the fragment is placed in a humidity controlled display case. Thomas Jefferson preserved a four-page draft that late in life he called the "original Rough draught." Known to historians as the Rough Draft, early students of the Declaration believed that this was a draft written alone by Jefferson and presented to the Committee of Five drafting committee.
Some scholars now believe that the Rough Draft was not an "original Rough draught", but was instead a revised version completed by Jefferson after consultation with the committee. How many drafts Jefferson wrote prior to this one, how much of the text was contributed by other committee members, is unknown. Jefferson showed the Rough Draft to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, other members of the drafting committee. Adams and Franklin made a few more changes. Franklin, for example, may have been responsible for changing Jefferson's original phrase "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable" to "We hold these truths to be self-evident." Jefferson incorporated these changes into a copy, submitted to Congress in the name of the committee. Jefferson made additional notes on it as Congress revised the text, he made several copies of the Rough Draft without the changes made by Congress, which he sent to friends, including Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe, after July 4. At some point in the process, Adams wrote out a copy.
In 1823, Jefferson wrote a letter to James Madison. After making alterations to his draft as suggested by Franklin and Adams, he recalled that "I wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, from them, unaltered, to Congress." If Jefferson's memories were correct, he indeed wrote out a fair copy, shown to the drafting committee and submitted to Congress on June 28, this document has not been found. "If this manuscript still exists," wrote historian Ted Widmer, "it is the holy grail of American freedom."The Fair Copy was marked up by Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, while Congress debated and revised the text. This document was the one that Congress approved on July 4, making it what Boyd called the first "official" copy of the Declaration; the Fair Copy was sent to John Dunlap to be printed under the title "A Declaration by the Representatives of the united states of america, in General Congress assembled." Boyd argued that if a document was signed in Congress on July 4, it would have been the Fair Copy, would have been signed only by John Hancock with his signature being attested by Thomson.
The Fair Copy may have been destroyed in the printing process, or destroyed during the debates in accordance with Congress's secrecy rule. The Declaration was first published as a broadside printed by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. One broadside was pasted into Congress's journal, making it what Boyd called the "second official version" of the Declaration. Dunlap's broadsides were distributed throughout the thirteen states. Upon receiving these broadsides, many states issued their own broadside editions; the Dunlap broadsides were the first published copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed on the night of July 4, 1776. It is unknown how many broadsides were printed, but the number is estimated at about 200. John Hancock's famous signature was not on this document, but his name appeared in large type under "Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress", with secretary Charles Thomson listed as a witness. On July 4, 1776, Congress ordered the same committee charged with writing the document to "superintend and correct the press", that is, supervise the printing.
Dunlap, an Irish immigrant 29 years old, was tasked with the job.
Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Hunterdon County is a county located in the western section of the U. S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2017 Census estimate, the county's population was 125,059, making it the state's 18th-most populous county, representing a 2.6% decrease from the 128,349 enumerated in the 2010 United States Census, in turn increasing by 6,360 from the 121,989 counted in the 2000 Census, retaining its position as the state's 14th-most populous county. The percentage increase in population of 13.2% between 1990 and 2000 was the largest in New Jersey triple the statewide increase of 4.5%, the absolute increase in residents was the third highest. Its county seat is Flemington. In 2015, the county had a per capita personal income of $80,759, the third-highest in New Jersey and ranked 33rd of 3,113 counties in the United States; the Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 19th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States as of 2009. Hunterdon County is noted for having the second-lowest level of child poverty of any county in the United States.
It is part of the Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. However, some portions of the county include themselves as part of the Delaware Valley, though Hunterdon County is not included in that area. Hunterdon County was established on March 11, 1714, separating from Burlington County, at which time it included all of present-day Morris and Warren counties; the rolling hills and rich soils which produce bountiful agricultural crops drew Native American tribes and Europeans to the area. Around 500 million years ago, a chain of volcanic islands shaped like an arch collided with proto North America and rode over the top of the North American plate; the rock from the islands created the highlands of Hunterdon County as there was a shallow sea where Hunterdon County is now located. Around four hundred million B. C. a small continent, long and thin, collided with proto North America. This collision created compression.
The Paleozoic sediment of shale and sandstone faulted. The heat allowed the igneous rock to bend, thus Hunterdon County was born; the African plate which collided with North America created more folding and faulting in the southern Appalachians. The African and North America plates tore and drifted away from each other; the Wisconsin glacier that entered into New Jersey around 21,000 BCE and melted around 13,000 BCE did not reach Hunterdon County. However, there are glacial outwash deposits from streams and rivers that flowed from the glacier southward depositing rock and sediment. Hunterdon County has two geophysical provinces; the first is the Highlands, the western section of the county. The other is the Piedmont, the eastern and southern section of the county; the Highlands account for one third of the area and the Piedmont accounts for two thirds of the county. The Highlands are part of the Reading Prong. Limestone and shale over igneous rock comprise the Highlands; the Piedmont includes the Hunterdon Plateau and the Raritan Valley Lowlands which are 150 to 300 feet above sea level.
The Piedmont is made up of sandstone. Paleo Indians moved into Hunterdon County between 12,000 BCE and 11,000 BCE; the area was warming due to climate change. The Wisconsin Glacier in Warren and Sussex County was retreating northward; the area was that of Taiga/Boreal forests. Paleo Indians traveled in small groups in search of game and edible plants, they used spears made of jasper or black chert. Their camp sites are difficult to find. Native Americans moved into the area but the time they arrived is unknown. Most have come from the Mississippi River area. Many tribes of the Delaware Nation lived in Hunterdon County along the Delaware River and in the Flemington area; these tribes were agricultural in nature, growing corn and squash. Those that lived along the South Branch of the Raritan River farmed. There was a Native American trail. Land purchases from Native Americans occurred from 1688 to 1758. Large land purchases from Native Americans occurred in 1703, 1709 and 1710. Over 150,000 acres were bought with metal knives and pots, blankets, barrels of rum or hard cider, guns and shot.
This allowed for European settlers to enter into Hunterdon County in the early 18th century. After 1760, nearly all Native Americans left New Jersey and relocated to eastern Canada or the Mississippi River area; the first European settlers were Col. John Reading who settled in Reading Township in 1704 and John Holcombe who settled in Lambertville in 1705. Hunterdon County was separated from Burlington County on March 11, 1714. At that time Hunterdon County was large, going from Assunpink Creek near Trenton to the New York State line which at that time was about 10 miles north of Port Jervis, New York. Hunterdon County was named for a colonial governor of New Jersey. Language changes over time and location, so by stemming of, a → lenition of the name of his family seat of "Hunterston" in Ayrshire, the name "Hunterdon" was derived. On March 15, 1739, Morris County was separated from Hunterdon County; the boundary between Hunterdon and Somerset counties is evidence of the old Keith Line which separated the provinces of West Jersey and East Jersey.
Hunterdon County was reduced in area on February 22, 1838, with the formation of Mercer County from portion
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Charles Carroll, known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III to distinguish him from his similarly-named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence. He is sometimes referred to as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, although he was not involved in framing the United States Constitution, he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress and as first United States Senator for Maryland. He was the sole Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence - and the longest lived. Carroll was known contemporaneously as the "First Citizen" of the American Colonies, a consequence of his editorials in the Maryland Gazette. Carroll was the wealthiest, the longest-lived survivor, possessed the highest formal education of all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
A product of his 17-year Jesuit education in France, Carroll spoke five languages fluently. Born in Annapolis, Carroll inherited vast agricultural estates and was regarded as the wealthiest man in the American colonies when the American Revolution commenced in 1775, his personal fortune at this time was reputed to be 2,100,000 pounds sterling. In addition, Carroll presided over his manor in Maryland. Though barred from holding office in Maryland due to his religion, Carroll emerged as a leader of the state's movement for independence, he was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention and was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776. He was part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission that Congress sent to Canada in hopes of winning the support of French Canadians. Carroll served in the Maryland Senate from 1781 to 1800, he was elected as one of Maryland's inaugural representatives in the United States Senate, but resigned from the United States Senate in 1792 after Maryland passed a law barring individuals from serving in state and federal office.
After retiring from public office, he helped establish the Ohio Railroad. He was the longest-lived and last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence, dying 56 years after the document was signed; the Carroll family were descendants of the Ó Cearbhaill lords of Éile in Ireland. Carroll's grandfather was the Irish-born Charles Carroll the Settler from Litterluna. Carroll left his native Ireland around the year 1659, emigrated to St. Mary's City, capital of the colony of Maryland, in 1689, with a commission as Attorney General from the colony's Catholic proprietor, Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore. Charles Carroll the Settler was the son of Daniel O'Carroll of Litterluna; the "O'" in Irish surnames was dropped due to the Anglicisation policy of the occupying English during the period of the "Penal Laws". Charles Carroll the Settler had a son, born in 1702 and named Charles. To distinguish himself from his father he was known as Charles Carroll of Annapolis. Carroll was born on September 19, 1737, in Annapolis, the only child of Charles Carroll of Annapolis and Elizabeth Brooke.
He was born illegitimate, as his parents were not married at the time of his birth, for technical reasons to do with the inheritance of the Carroll family estates. They married in 1757; the young Carroll was educated at a Jesuit preparatory school known as Bohemia Manor in Cecil County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. At the age of eleven, he was sent to France, he continued his studies in Europe, read for the law in London before returning to Annapolis in 1765. Charles Carroll of Annapolis granted Carrollton Manor to his son, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, it is from this tract of land that he took his title, "Charles Carroll of Carrollton". Like his father, Carroll was a Roman Catholic, as a consequence was barred by Maryland statute from entering politics, practicing law and voting; this did not prevent him from becoming one of the wealthiest men in Maryland, owning extensive agricultural estates, most notably the large manor at Doughoregan, Hockley Forge and Mill, providing capital to finance new enterprises on the Western Shore.
Carroll was not interested in politics and in any event Catholics had been barred from holding office in Maryland since the 1704 Act seeking "to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province". But, as the dispute between Great Britain and her colonies intensified in the early 1770s, Carroll became a powerful voice for independence. In 1772 he engaged in a debate conducted through anonymous newspaper letters, maintaining the right of the colonies to control their own taxation. Writing in the Maryland Gazette under the pseudonym "First Citizen," he became a prominent spokesman against the governor's proclamation increasing legal fees to state officers and Protestant clergy. Opposing Carroll in these written debates and writing as "Antillon" was Daniel Dulany the Younger, a noted lawyer and loyalist politician. In these debates, Carroll argued that the government of Maryland had long been the monopoly of four families, the Ogles, the Taskers, the Bladens and the
Samuel Huntington (Connecticut politician)
Samuel Huntington was a jurist and Patriot in the American Revolution from Connecticut. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, he served as President of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, President of the United States in Congress Assembled in 1781, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1784 to 1785, the 18th Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until his death. Samuel was born to Mehetabel Huntington on July 16, 1731, in Windham, Connecticut, his house is now accessible off of Route 14. He was the fourth of the oldest son, he had a limited education in the common schools was self-educated. When Samuel was 16 he was apprenticed to a cooper, but continued to help his father on the farm, his education came from the library of books borrowed from local lawyers. In 1754 Samuel was admitted to the bar, moved to Norwich, Connecticut to begin practicing law, he married Martha Devotion in 1761. They remained together until her death in 1794.
While the couple would not have children, when his brother died they adopted their niece. They raised Frances as their own. After brief service as a selectman, Huntington began his political career in earnest in 1764 when Norwich sent him as one of their representatives to the lower house of the Connecticut Assembly, he continued to be returned to that office each year until 1774. In 1775 he was elected to the upper house, the Governor's Council, where he was reelected until 1784. In addition to serving in the legislature, he was appointed King's attorney for Connecticut in 1768 and in 1773 was appointed to the colony's supreme court known as the Supreme Court of Errors, he was chief justice of the Superior Court from 1784 until 1787. Huntington was an outspoken critic of the Coercive Acts of the British Parliament; as a result, the assembly elected him in October 1775 to become one of their delegates to the Second Continental Congress. In January 1776 he took his place with Roger Sherman and Oliver Wolcott as the Connecticut delegation in Philadelphia.
He signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He suffered from an attack of smallpox while in Congress. While not known for extensive learning or brilliant speech, Huntington's steady hard work and unfailing calm manner earned him the respect of his fellow delegates; as a result, when John Jay left to become minister to Spain, Huntington was elected to succeed him as President of the Continental Congress on September 28, 1779, one reason why he is sometimes considered the first president. The President of Congress was a ceremonial position with no real authority, but the office did require Huntington to handle a good deal of correspondence and sign official documents, he spent his time as president urging the states and their legislatures to support the levies for men and money needed to fight the Revolutionary War. The Articles of Confederation were ratified during his term. Huntington remained as President of Congress until July 9, 1781, when ill health forced him to resign and return to Connecticut.
In 1782, Connecticut again named him as a delegate, but his health and judicial duties kept him from accepting. He returned to the Congress as a delegate for the 1783 session to see the success of the revolution embodied in the Treaty of Paris. In 1785 he built his mansion house just off the Norwichtown Green at what is now 34 East Town Street and the current headquarters of United and Community Family Services, Inc. In 1785 he was elected as Lieutenant Governor for Connecticut, serving with Governor Matthew Griswold. In 1786 he followed Griswold as Governor of Connecticut, he remained in charge of the Supreme Court during his tenure as Lieutenant Governor but vacated that position upon election to Governor. He was reelected Governor annually until his death in 1796; that same year, in a reprise of his efforts in Congress, he brokered the Treaty of Hartford that resolved western land claims between New York and Massachusetts. The following year he lent his support to the Northwest Ordinance that completed the national resolution of these issues.
In 1788 he presided over the Connecticut Convention, called to ratify the United States Constitution. In years he saw the transition of Connecticut into a U. S. State, he resolved the issue of a permanent state capital at Hartford and oversaw the construction of the state house. He died while in office, at his home in Norwich on January 5, 1796, his tomb, extensively restored and renovated in a 2003 project, is located in the Old Norwichtown Cemetery behind his mansion house. Both Samuel and his wife Martha's remains were disinterred during the course of the project and reinterred in a formal ceremony on November 23, 2003. Huntington, was named in his honor in 1789, but renamed to Shelton, when that town incorporated with Shelton to form a city in 1919, he is the namesake of Indiana. Huntington Mills is a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania which derives its name in honor of Samuel Huntington; the home that Samuel was born in was built by his father, around 1732 and still stands. The area is now within the borders of the town of Connecticut.
In 1994 the home and some grounds were purchased by a local historic trust. As of 2003 restoration is underway, but parts of the home and grounds are open to visitors at limited times; the Samuel Huntington Birthplace is a Nationa
Ringoes, New Jersey
Ringoes is an unincorporated community located within East Amwell Township in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States. The community is served by the United States Postal Service as ZIP Code 08551; as of the 2010 United States Census, the population for ZIP Code Tabulation Area 08551 was 5,532. Ringoes is the oldest known settlement in Hunterdon County; the village grew up around John Ringo's Tavern on the Old York Road, now Route 179. The tavern was the site for many meetings of the Hunterdon Chapter of the Sons of Liberty formed in 1766. People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise associated with Ringoes include: James Buchanan, represented New Jersey's 2nd congressional district from 1885 to 1893 Matt Ioannidis, defensive end for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Andrew Maguire, represented New Jersey's 7th congressional district from 1975 to 1981 Horace Griggs Prall, acting Governor of New Jersey in 1935. Jason Read, rower, a gold medalist in the Men's 8+ at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Herb Ringer, amateur photographer. Tabby's Place, cat sanctuary Old York Cellars, winery Unionville Vineyards, winery Black River and Western Railroad and freight railroad The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Ringoes has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps
United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America; the declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes; the Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.
The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms, it was published as the printed Dunlap broadside, distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress; the best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy, displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. and, popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed on August 2; the sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution, its original purpose was to announce independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since it has become a well-known statement on human rights its second sentence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness; this has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
The passage came to represent a moral standard. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted; the Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa and Oceania during the first half of the 19th century. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose. By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.
Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire. Many colonists, had developed a different conception of the empire; the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament's authority in the colonies; the orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional. In the colonies, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not Parliament.
After the Townshend Acts, some essayists began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all. Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth, by 1774 American writers such as