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| caption = John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence is a 12-by 18-foot oil-on-canvas in the United States Capitol Rotunda that depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress.
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress formally approved and issued the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the document. The Declaration consisted of two parts. Listed first were a number of rights that the Congress felt that English colonists deserved. The second part of the Declaration was a description of the numerous ways that England had denied these rights to its colonists. A major complaint centered on England's refusal to allow the colonists greater participation in government. The colonists wanted to be able to elect representatives to the English
Parliament. Also, many Americans believed that England did not understand or truly care about many of the needs of the colonists. After the French and Indian War, England acquired most of France's North American territory through the Treaty of Paris (1763). England issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbid English colonists from living west of the Appalachian Mountains. Any settlers currently west of the mountains were to move back to the East. All English territory between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River was now reserved to Native American people. One reason the French and Indian War had occurred from 1756 to 1763 was to gain access to land in the Ohio Country. By issuing the proclamation, England denied this opportunity to many of its colonists. After more than a decade of petitioning the English government, the colonies decided to declare their independence and begin the American Revolution.[[Category:History Documents]] [[Category:Exploration To Statehood]][[Category:American Revolution]]