Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

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The Second Continental Congress

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, passed by the Second Continental Congress, puts in writing why the American Colonies must forcibly defend their God given rights.[1][2]


On June 23, 1775, John Rutledge of South Carolina, William Livingston of New Jersey, Dr. Franklin, John Jay, and Thomas Johnson of Maryland were appointed a committee "to draw up a declaration to be published by General Washington upon his arrival at the camp before Boston." The report was brought in the 24th, and on the 26th after a period of debate, was recommitted. John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson were shortly thereafter added to the committee.

Authorship Controversy

Jefferson wrote a draft of the Declaration, but John Dickinson thought it might be too outspoken. Dickenson prepared a new one, retaining the closing paragraphs as drawn by Jefferson. In this form the declaration was reported June 27, and agreed to July 6. John Dickenson has claimed credit for the authorship,[3] but some historians disagree(notably historian Julian Boyd)[4] with this and point to Jefferson as the true author.

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