the

Why the Declaration of Independence? | Thomas Jefferson Explains | History Cartoons

Hi TJ here aka Thomas Jefferson. Its 1776 and  we're at the Second Continental Congress in  

Philadelphia. It's June and it's a hot one  here. We're a bit more productive in the  

Second Continental Congress. First we have all  13 colonies attending this time. In the First  

Continental Congress in 1774 only 12 colonies  attended it. It happened that our good friends  

in Georgia got cold feet and decided not to  attend and risk upsetting King George. A bit  

wimpy if you ask me! One big thing we managed  to achieve at the Second Continental Congress  

is that we created the first and only Continental  Army quite an achievement given that our militias  

to date have been a hodgepodge of ordinary folk  and farmers. And we elected George Washington to  

head up the Continental Army. Yeah that's him over  there. Great guy, a lot of fun at the tavern. He  

likes to be called the "General". You might have  heard we're ready to declare our independence  

from King George. So we thought it was time  to put all this down on paper. So Congress  

appointed a five person committee to draft the  Declaration of Independence. I was hoping Ben  

Franklin and that's him over there would take up  this assignment. Turns out that I have to write  

it and I only have a couple of weeks. Yikes!  So before I start drafting the Declaration of  

Independence let's reflect a bit how he got here.  More specifically let's discuss King George's  

crazy taxation policies. George was big-time in  debt after the Seven Years War. He figured that  

the colonists should pay him back for the British  support in the French and Indian War. In 1765,  

the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act. No,  not postal stamps but it was a tax on everyday  

paper that we had to buy from Britain. Additional  taxes via the Townshend Acts of 1767 were imposed  

on paint, glass, lead and teeth. George just  loves shoving these taxes down our throats!  

We're not gonna take it for much longer! Needless  to say discontent spread throughout the colonies,  

so King George sent in the Redcoats in 1768 to  force the colonists to pay up. Things got even  

more heated on a chilly morning in March 1770  when a group of Bostonians confronted the British  

soldiers by first calling them names like lobsters  and bloody backs. Well the Brits didn't take too  

kindly to those insults and opened fire on the  Bostonians, killing five of them. Oh by the way,  

John Adams yep that's him again over there  defended the British soldiers in court. Typical  

Adams! The last straw was in 1773. King George  threw the tea tax our way. Now let me get this  

straight he already taxed tea in 1767. Now he  gave the tea monopoly in the colonies to one of  

his crony companies, the East India Company.  So in December of 1773, a friendly group of  

Bostonians many of them tea traders threw a party  of sorts. These guys, after a few drinks at the  

local tavern, dressed up as Indians and raided  a few of the ships in the harbor and managed to  

destroy over 300 crates of tea. Oh boy, that set  King George off big time! King George closed the  

Boston Harbor and that really infuriated all  the colonies. What's amazing is that during  

all this we colonists never had a say or any  voting powers in the British Parliament. That's  

taxation without representation if I've ever  seen it! Well after the Boston Tea Party, things  

got worse between the colonists and the British  soldiers stay tuned for more in our next video.