The American Revolution (HIST 116) In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses the Declaration of Independence and sets the document in its historical context. The Declaration was not the main focus of the Second Continental Congress, which was largely concerned with organizing the defensive war effort. The Congress had sent King George III the Olive Branch Petition in a last attempt at reconciliation in August 1775, but the King ignored the petition and declared the colonies to be in rebellion. Throughout the colonies, local communities began debating the issue of independence on their own, often at the instruction of their colonial legislatures, and these local declarations of independence contributed to the formal declaration of independence by the Continental Congress in July 1776. Professor Freeman concludes the lecture by describing the decision to have Thomas Jefferson draft the Declaration. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Independence 03:38 - Chapter 2. Organizing for War during the Second Continental Congress 10:46 - Chapter 3. King George III's Response to the Olive Branch Petition and the Release of Common Sense 18:01 - Chapter 4. The General Populace's Thoughts on Cries for Independence 28:35 - Chapter 5. Debates on Drafting a Formal Declaration of Independence 39:33 - Chapter 6. Editing the Declaration and Conclusion Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses This course was recorded in Spring 2010.