King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences

The Declaration of Independence

Title page and frontispiece portrait of George WashingtonTitle page and frontispiece portrait of George WashingtonThe book featured here contains reproductions of key documents that declared America’s independence from Britain and established government in the United States at state and national level following the American Revolutionary War.

In June 1776 a convention of delegates from the 13 colonies tasked a five man committee, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, with producing a statement that justified independence from Britain. Jefferson drafted what would become the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, as well as sparking the American Revolution, was the first formal statement that asserted the right of a nation’s people to choose their own government, making it a significant document in the history of democracy.

Following the American Revolutionary War, the 13 states adopted their own individual constitutions. The Articles of Confederation were ratified by all 13 states in 1781, creating the first American constitution and creating the nation’s government.

This copy includes a frontispiece portrait of George Washington (1732-99), which is reproduced here. Washington was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

In this exhibition

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