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063 When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

 63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
July 4, 1776

Sometimes when an American wants you to sign your name (or write your name in a way that only you can do it, usually to show that you agree with something), he or she will say: “Put your John Hancock here.” That phrase relates to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which was a letter that Americans wrote to let Britain know that they no longer wanted to be ruled (or controlled) by the British government. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men, but John Hancock’s signature was the first and biggest signature on the document. It was so big and bold (or large and showing that he was not afraid of anyone or anything), that today people say “Put your John Hancock here” when they want you to sign something.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted (or accepted) by the original 13 states on July 4, 1776. Today we celebrate a holiday called Independence Day
every Fourth of July, because that is the day when the United States got its independence (or freedom) from Britain.

But the Declaration of Independence did more than just get independence from Britain. It also said many important things about human rights (or the things that all people should be allowed to do and to have). One of the most well-known phrases in the Declaration is that “all men are created equal.” This was important, because at the time the Declaration was written, not all men were treated equally. That is one of the reasons that Americans wanted their independence from Britain. They thought that they weren’t being treated as well as British people were being treated, so they wanted to create their own government.

The Declaration of Independence also listed many of the Americans’ complaints (or things that they didn’t like) about the British government, like not letting them make laws where they lived, and making them pay a lot of taxes (or money that was given to the government). The list of complaints became the Americans’ justification (or reason) for creating an independent country.


to sign (something) – to write one's name on something, usually to show approval or agreement
* Please sign your name here to show that you've received the package.

Declaration of Independence – the letter that was written to let Great Britain know that its colonies had become the United States, an independent country
* The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in American history.

to rule – to govern or control; to have official power in an area and/or over a group of people
* Who ruled Great Britain in 1925?

bold – large and clear; actions showing that one is not afraid of anyone or anything; courageous and brave
* It was very bold of you to ask him to stop shouting when everyone else was scared to do it.

to adopt – to accept something and begin to do, use, or have it
* In our home, we've adopted the custom of taking off our shoes before we enter the house.

independence – freedom; the ability of a country or area to make its own decisions, especially about its government
* The Revolutionary War was a fight for American independence from Great Britain.

human rights – the things that all people should be allowed to do and to have
* The freedom to be educated, live where one wants, and marry whom one wants are all examples of human rights.

complaint – something that one says or writes down to let others know that one doesn't like it or thinks it is wrong
* The manager has received a lot of complaints about how the new employees speak to customers.

justification – a reason for doing something; an explanation for why one has done something
* There's no justification for treating other people that badly.