By the spring of 1776, the movement toward revolution was rapidly gaining speed. All royal governors had been ousted in the colonies, replacing British authority with makeshift governments. The Second Continental Congress was in session and a committee consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman was appointed to draft a declaration of independence. The draft was presented to the Congress on June 28 and adopted on July 4, after a number of changes had been made.
Most delegates at the congress were for independence and there were many reasons why they felt so strongly. First, the colonists' anger toward England had continued to grow and many colonial leaders no longer trusted England. Secondly, the colonists had already engaged in armed conflicts with the British and they felt that they had reached a point of no return. Finally, they wanted financial help from Britain's enemies in Europe and to secure these funds from France and Spain, they decided that the best way was to declare their independence.
A formal parchment of the Declaration, adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, was available for signing on August 2, 1776. The intention of the Declaration as summarized by Thomas Jefferson was "to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent. . . . Neither aiming at originality of principles or sentiments, nor yet copying from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind".