Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration.
The settlers who inhabited the thirteen British colonies in North America began to feel uncomfortable with the monarchy of King George III and the British Parliament. Indeed, the British Parliament considered that the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townsend Acts of 1767 were legitimate means to force the settlers to pay maintenance costs in North America. (The Laws Townsend took the name of its creator, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townsend, the colonists paid for the deficit of the Empire).
The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The Tea Tax was an arbitrariness to save the excesses in inventories that the East India Company had stored in its warehouses in London. Bostonians were ransacking the ship loaded with tea that just arrived to be sold with new taxes, and some Bostonians even threw bags of tea into the sea.
This idealized depiction of (left to right) Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson working on the Declaration (Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1900) was widely reprinted.
The settlers gathered at the Congress in Philadelphia in 1774 to analyze the abuses of the monarchy. They later met again on July 4, 1776 to declare independence from the British Empire and so were born the United States of America.
On July 4, 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication.
The ideas and phrases of the philosopher John Locke influenced the Preamble of the Declaration, where the concept of natural law, the right to self-determination, is included and of course the republican spirit framed in the concept of freedom.
This image is a version of the 1823 William Stone facsimile — Stone may well have used a wet pressing process (that removed ink from the original document onto a contact sheet for the purpose of making the engraving).