In the Declaration of Independence, the colonists rattle off a long long list of eighteen grievances (complaints) about King George III.
(In truth, the colonists weren’t all that mad at the King — they were mad at Parliament, but they couldn’t complain about Parliament because that would have made it sound like they agreed that Parliament had a say over in America, which was their whole beef…they thought Parliament had no power to say anything about what happened in America. The only person they thought could control America was their King, so they had to complain about him, instead.)
The list of grievances, like I say, is long. Here’s the list:
1. He refused to sign laws that our colonial legislature passed, which we really needed.
2. He wouldn’t let his colonial governors here sign them for him or enforce those laws anyway.
3. He hasn’t made it so that we can be represented in Parliament.
4. He made our colonial legislatures go places that made no sense, in the snow and stuff, just so that they would do what he wanted, because he picked places where he knew only the people who agreed with him were living close by enough to get there.
5. He has closed down our colonial legislatures when he didn’t like the stuff they were wanting to do. A lot.
6. He has sat on his hands about setting up elections for us to create new colonial legislatures after he shuts down the other ones, and dang it, we have Indians wanting to scalp us here.
7. He hasn’t been very encouraging to people over in Europe that they should move here and help us.
8. He hasn’t set us up enough courts and judges.
9. The judges that he has set up suck and only do what he wants, and he bribes them.
10. He has created a bunch of silly offices and sent people here to work in them just to fill our lives with red tape
11. He sent the army here for God’s sake, in our cities like we’re the enemy, walking around with rifles without the permission of our legislature that they could do that.
12. He has told his army to ignore what the governments here say, and do only what he says.
13. He is fine signing laws that Parliament has passed that have to do with us, even though he should know that they have no power to pass laws having to do with America, and here’s some of those laws which we can’t believe he was okay with:
13a. The army, walking around with rifles like I said, can just march into our houses and start sleeping in our bedrooms without our permission, and raiding our refrigerators.
13b. If anyone in the army kills any of us, make it so that they don’t have a real trial, but one that kinda just slaps them on the wrist.
13c. No one can bring anything to Boston, so that the people there can’t buy or sell anything with any other part of the world.
13c. We have to pay taxes that Parliament (which like I say, can’t make things up for us) makes up.
13d. We can’t have juries at our own trials to help protect our rights.
13e. If we get accused of a crime, we have to go all the way to England just for trial sometimes, and heck, we’re not even guilty usually.
13f. The government of Canada got completely shut down, to make us scared of what Parliament can do once they get control of a place.
13g. Laws that say that our most basic laws even saying how we’re organized (colonies ruled only by the King, not Parliament) mean nothing.
13h. Laws that say Parliament is in control of us now.
14. He has declared that he isn’t in control of us anymore, because geez, now he’s actually fighting a war against us.
15. He’s got his navy burning our towns down and stuff.
16. He has even hired a bunch of Germans to come here and start fighting us, and they’re not fighting nice!
17. He has let his navy pick up our citizens while they’re out boating and make them join his navy and fight against their hometown friends.
18. He has made the Indians hate us and encouraged them to come at us with tomahawks.
In Thomas Jefferson’s original draft, the list also contained another complaint — that the King has allowed slavery and that the King just kept on letting people ship slaves over here and own slaves. Thomas Jefferson wanted to complain about that, but not enough people in the Congress voted for it, so that complaint got taken out.
Basically, the Declaration was written by a bunch of unhappy campers.