On This Day

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

First pamphlet printing of the US Continental Congress' Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms
First pamphlet printing of the US Continental Congress' Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

Historical Context

A few months after the Thirteen Colonies had broken out in rebellion against their British colonial overseers, the Continental Congress drafted a resolution entitled the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. This document was an important precursor to the declaration of independence issued just over a year later. Oddly, the declaration came one day after the Olive Branch Petition, which restated loyalty to Britain wished King George III a long reign - a final attempt to prevent war.

In the declaration, the colonists describe several of their grievances, including being taxed without being represented, restrictive legislation and their pleas and demands having been ignored for many years. The colonists still maintained that they were not after independence, just redress of their concerns.

The declaration was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson (who would go on to be the primary author of the Declaration of Independence) and was rewritten and edited by John Dickinson. The colonies did take up arms - and Great Britain would cede and acknowledge American independence in 1783.

Document Info

Location signed: USA

Source: Sotheby's

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  • 1775-07-06 Congress issues "Declaration of the Causes & Necessity of Taking up Arms", listing grievances but denying intent to be independent


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