The Writing of the Constitution


On July 2, 1776, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston,
Roger Sherman, and Thomas Jefferson finished the final draft of their
Declaration of Independence. Two days later, on July 4, delegates from the
Continental Congress passed the declaration unanimously. The declaration
contained a basic but integral principle which is important even today, and
justified the independence movement for the newly formed United States of
America.

The preamble to the declaration established a small but vital principle
that "whenever any form of government becomes destructive...it is the right
of the people to alter or abolish it." This principle has continued to be
significant to the United States because it gives every citizen the right
to question the government and to actually do something about it.

The second part of the declaration consisted of a list of
justifications for departing from the British Empire. Some major
justifications which were listed are: "He[King George III] has forbidden
his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance,"
quartering "large bodies of armed troops" among people in the New world and
for "imposing taxes on us without our consent."

Finally the Continental Congress began the process of applying these
principles when the declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776. After this,
the Congress sent the document to the printer. Then, by the end of 1776,
independent governments were functioning in every state except Georgia and
New York. Each new state government had three branches: an executive
branch, a legislature, and a court system. Most state constitutions
guaranteed certain inalienable rights that the governments could not take
away.