What was the Declaration of Independence all about? It was  written by Thomas Jefferson but was probably not signed on July 4th,  1776. It was written after hostilities had broken out. Lexington,  Concord, Bunker Hill had taken place a year earlier. Why so late? The  reason might be that the colonies were not yet united in their response  to Britain. Many did not want to leave the empire only a few years  earlier they had boasted about. Also, taking on the powerful British  empire with trained troops seemed almost impossible. Several of the  condemnations in the declaration were not true, and they were addressed  to King George III rather than Parliament, which had the real power. It  is quite possible that the colonial leadership did not want to attack a  representative institution even though it was hardly representative of  the people of Britain. Still, the declaration won widespread approval  and helped to unite the colonists.

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