The English colonies in North America had been around for a hundred and fifty years. And then England starts doing a bunch of bad things, and passing a bunch of laws that take advantage of the colonies without granting them representation in Parliament. The colonists are not happy and they eventually ask to opt out of England's rule. Congress ask Thomas Jefferson and others to write a declaration of independence. They needed a document to declare why the colonies had to become independent. At the bottom of the document, the delegates signed their names and Congress officially adopted it on the Fourth of July.