declaration of independence

Hancock: Richard Henry Lee, will you serve on the declaration committee?

Lee: Sorry Johnny👎🙅gotta respectfulLEE decline😜😂👌About to go home to refresh the missus👀😉😏💍💦Virginia born Virginia bound💪🌞🌾 certified FFV💯✊ HERE👀A👀LEE👀THERE👀A👀LEE👀 Too hot here in Philly for me🔥😓😫

Adams: Someone stop him

Franklin: No keep going 👏👀💯

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February 12th 1818: Chilean Declaration of Independence

On this day in 1818, Chile officially issued its Declaration of Independence from Spanish rule, following the initial declaration of September 1810. Desire for independence had been on the rise in Chile for a number of years, fueled by international independence movements, disaffection with the corrupt Spanish-appointed governor, and the political turmoil following Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and the capture of the Spanish king. Following Argentina’s declaration of independence in May 1810, the governor arrested patriots including the Chilean Bernardo de Vera Pintado, prompting outrage in Chile. Citizens demanded a say in their future, and 300 leading Chileans gathered for a meeting. Many of the attendees were Spaniards living in Chile, and disagreements over the question of independence divided the meeting. It was finally resolved that Chile, like Argentina, would establish an independent government, but remain nominally loyal to the exiled King Fernando VII. Count Mateo de Toro y Zambrano was named President, and the new junta set about establishing a national Congress and military. However, royalists vociferously opposed the declaration - which put Chile resolutely on the path to total independence - and the next decade saw bloody warfare between those who advocated full independence, and those who wanted to remain within the Spanish Empire. In 1814, Spanish troops reconquered Chile, but the oppressive rule of Spanish loyalists reinvigorated the independence movement. The tide turned in favour of the patriots, who retook Chile in 1818, when they defeated the last large Spanish force in the Battle of Maipú, and issued a formal declaration of independence on February 12th. The wars came to a close with the expulsion of royalists in 1821, and the surrender of the last Spanish troops in 1826. Chilean independence was therefore secured, though not formally recognised by Spain until 1844.

We’re #thankful to be the home of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill Of Rights. 

And we are thankful that 363 days a year (we’re closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day), visitors can come to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and see these founding documents on display.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Photo: Naturalization ceremony in the Rotunda, September 2015. Photo by staff photographer Jeffrey Reed.

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December 6th 1917: Finnish independence

On this day in 1917, Finland formally declared its independence from Russia. Located in-between Sweden and Russia, Finland had long been the object of these two major powers’ imperial machinations. In 1809, Sweden ceded Finland to Russia, with Finland’s nominally automonous government now subject to final approval by the tsar. The first years of Russian rule were relatively peaceful, with the Finns accepting Russian initiatives such as the relocation of the capital to Helsinki. However, there was evidence of an incipient Finnish nationalism, though this did not reach the mainstream until Finland was dragged into the Crimean War on Russia’s side. The Finnish government became increasingly assertive, issuing its own currency and introducing universal suffrage, making Finland the first European country to grant full political rights to women. Popular grumblings against Russian rule found a convenient outlet when Russia was rocked by communist revolution in October 1917. Seizing on the tumult in Russia, and inspired by the Bolsheviks’ professed support for self-determination, Finland formally declared independence on December 6th, 1917. The new Bolshevik government of Vladimir Lenin soon recognised the nation’s independence, though the path to autonomy was not entirely peaceful, as a year later Finland descended into a bloody civil war. The war was fought between the working class Reds, who desired a socialist revolution like Russia’s, and the conservative, nationalist Whites. Aided by Germany, the Whites were victorious, and swiftly established a monarchy led by a German prince. However, Germany’s defeat in the First World War led Finland to embrace a republican system of government. This anniversary, celebrated in Finland as Independence Day, marks a pivotal moment in Finnish history, beginning the process towards the free and independent Finland of today.

“The century-old desire for freedom awaits fulfilment now; Finland’s people step forward as a free nation among the other nations in the world”
- Finnish Declaration of Independence