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  • The Declaration of Independence

     |  The Apple of Gold/Frame of Silver

    The Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence With the War for Independence over a year old and hope for a peaceful resolution nonexistent, the Continental Congress appointed a Committee of Five—including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin— to draft a document "declar[ing] the causes which impel [the American colonies] to the separation." Thirty-three-year-old Jefferson composed the initial draft, completing it in seventeen days. The committee submitted its draft to Congress on June 28, 1776, and on July 2, Congress voted for independence. Two days later, after numerous edits, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence by unanimous vote. July 4, 1776 The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States ...
  • The Northwest Ordinance

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    The Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance Congress of the Confederation Passed when only a single state outlawed slavery, the anti-slavery stance of the Northwest Ordinance—barring slavery in the territories, and thus in future states—gave weight to Abraham Lincoln's later argument that the Founders sought to place slavery "in the course of ultimate extinction." July 13, 1787 Article VI ...There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed ...
  • The Constitution of the United States of America

     |  The Apple of Gold/Frame of Silver

    The Constitution of the United States of America The Constitution of the United States of America Fifty-five delegates from twelve states (Rhode Island declined to participate) traveled to Philadelphia to attend the Constitutional Convention, which began in May 1787. They quickly scrapped the existing Articles of Confederation, and after four months they concluded their business by adopting a new frame of government. On September 17, thirty-nine delegates signed the Constitution. It was nine months before the requisite nine states ratified the Constitution, putting it into effect. The thirteenth state, Rhode Island, did not ratify it until 1790. Subsequently, it has been amended twenty-seven times. September 17, 1787 Preamble We the People of ...
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