On June 9,1776, the Continental Congress accepted a resolution of Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee, appointing a committee to draft a declaration of secession from the dominions of the English king and parliament. On June 29 the committee--composed of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston--presented their draft for debate and a vote. On July 4 an amended version of that draft was accepted. The war that had been raging for more than a year had finally driven the reluctant revolutionaries to sever all ties with their motherland. -The Patriot's Handbook by George Grant
We often quote the first and second paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, but today I will quote the last one.
"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."