On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress (which was made up of delegates of the 13 original colonies) passed a resolution to become independent from the rule of King George III and Great Britain. Apparently feeling a need to explain why Congress voted for independence, Congress debated the contents of a document for two days following the July 2 vote. The document was drafted by the Committee of Five (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston.) On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the wording of the document. That document, dated July 4, 1776, was titled “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. ” We now know it as the Declaration of Independence.
The part of America’s Declaration of Independence that is universally recognized is its second sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”