Welcome to the Speak English Now Podcast, your resource for practicing your English speaking and listening. You will also learn about lifestyle and culture, language, vocabulary and how to learn English more effectively.
I’m Georgiana, founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help YOU to speak English fluently.
In this episode:
- ïI’ll talk about the Declaration of Independence of the USA and why the 13 American Colonies decided to become independent.
- •Later you’ll practice your grammar with a Point of View Story.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
These famous words are all that most people remember of the American Declaration of Independence, but the text as a whole is far more complex and subtle than this piece of liberal rhetoric might suggest.
Thomas Jefferson was given the job of writing the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress committee.
He wrote the original Declaration in only four days. He revised it a bit over the next two weeks. When he was done, he gave a copy to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to read and edit before the next meeting of Congress.
On the 4th of July, the Declaration was formally adopted by
Twelve colonies after minor revision. New York, the 13th colony, approved it on July 19th. On August 2nd, Declaration was signed.
Like many ground-breaking documents in the history of government, the Declaration is firmly planted in a highly specific historical context. Over sixty percent of it is a detailed list of grievances which the American colonists felt against George III and the British government.
The American Declaration of Independence
does three main things:
1. It advances a theoretical case for revolution, discusses human rights, and the nature of national sovereignty.
2. It sets out a precise list of the specific complaints which the American colonists had against the actions of the British government over a decade and a half.
3. It declares the 13 British colonies on the east coast of North America independent on the 4th of July 1776.
Around 1720, Britain had stopped paying attention to the American colonies. In 1757, the British became involved in the Seven Years War against France.
Britain won the Seven Years War in 1764, removing all French control in North America.
The great issue was that Britain was now heavily in debt. Consequently, Britain started taxing the American colonists.
Not only were the colonists opposed to the taxation because they had no representation in Parliament, but they had also become used to managing their own affairs for the past 50 years. And they were now much less dependent on British protection.
They believed they had taxation without representation:
– Taxes were imposed on them by the English Parliament, where they did not have a representative to argue on their behalf.
The taxes that were implemented were on items that were everyday necessities, not just luxuries.
– The Stamp Act taxed any paper, and the paper had to carry a seal proving that the tax had been paid.
– Tea was essential to anyone with a British background, and it was also taxed.
(END OF THE EXTRACT).
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