The Continental Congress began passing measures to outst British rule. In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote and published Common Sense, a highly circulated pamphlet agruing the importance and need for independence.
The Declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson (the 3rd president of the United States). You can read a copy of the Declaration at the National Achives site. Jefferson wrote the immortal words American's live by today "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
The Revolutionary War continued on for five years after the Declarations of Independence was adopted by the thirteen States. In 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the United States became officially a free and independent nation.
So today while enjoying your July 4th with cook outs and fireworks, give a few moments to think of the brave men and women who fight for freedom--past and present.
SEA HAWK'S MISTRESS -- Coming July 18, 2007 from Ellora's Cave
THE GLADIATOR -- Coming Summer 2007 from New Concepts Publishing
CROSSED SWORDS -- Fall 2007 from Ellora's Cave