On June 7th, 1776, Richard Henry Lee drafted the resolution that preceded the Declaration of Independence. It was a handwritten document, difficult to read and poorly formatted (see it here). It asserted:
"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
By July 2nd, 12 of the 13 colonies had endorsed this document, leading to the formal signing of the Declaration of Independence just days later.
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