Declaration of Rights and Grievances

Declaration of Rights and Grievances/tiles/non-collection/c/c_102imgtile1.xml
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Declaration of Rights and Grievances/tiles/non-collection/c/c_102imgtile2.xml
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Declaration of Rights and Grievances/tiles/non-collection/c/c_102imgtile3.xml
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Declaration of Rights and Grievances/tiles/non-collection/c/c_102imgtile4.xml
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Declaration of Rights and Grievances/tiles/non-collection/c/c_102imgtile5.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Description

The First Continental Congress drafted this Declaration of Rights and Grievances in 1774 to express dissatisfaction with British statutes imposed on American colonists. Among other complaints, the Congress criticized the British Parliament’s unfair taxation, lack of representation, and the judicial abuses collectively known as the Intolerable or Coercive Acts. This series of punitive measures, prompted by the Boston Tea Party, further alienated the colonists from Great Britain. Additionally, the declaration announced that the colonies would boycott trade with Great Britain by entering “a nonimportation nonconsumption and nonexportation agreement.” The colonists asserted that their ancestors who had originally settled in North America did not forfeit the rights afforded them by the English constitution when they emigrated. Therefore, their descendants, the colonists, should be entitled to the same rights, including “life, liberty & property.” The sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Rights and Grievances foreshadowed those of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

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