The greatest breakup/screw you letter ever written. So badass, in fact, that it was a treasonable act, punishable by death to have your name on it. But 56 daring souls did. Respected ones at that. Finished with the British empire, the King, a laundry list of other problems the crown gave them, they rocked the world and all of history with a beautifully written pink slip.
The letter basically said "King George, piss off." It listed reasons. Lots of them. But it doubled down with one hell of an opener - that the King's authority over them didn't really even exist. The divinely-bestowed power over so-called "subjects" that he and all other kings across the world and throughout time hung their crowns upon were nothing but lame fairy tales, and America was having none of it anymore.
It was sort of a big deal. The beginning of the end for monarchies in the West. The beginning of something pretty extraordinary for individuals worldwide it turns out.
This incredible document is celebrated every year on July 4th here in the States. That's when the so-called Committee of Five got the okay to send the letter to the printer John Dunlap in 1776. The Five's job was to draft the document to be approved by the Continental Congress. When Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin finished, they were to have 200 copies sent throughout America. (Only 26 copies survive to this day, they're known as the “Dunlap Broadsides”.)
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