The Declaration of Independence - Reading Comprehension
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The Declaration of Independence Reading Comprehension
     The Declaration of Independence reading comprehension (sample is shown below)



The Declaration of Independence
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     In the 1760s, the American colonies lived under British rule and were loyal to England. They each had their own system of self-government. The colonies traded with each other, with England, and with other countries of the world. They were thriving and had large, bustling cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
 
2     When England found herself with a budget crisis, colonial loyalty was challenged. England had been at war with France for many years. They had fought from India to the Americas. England was victorious, but the war debts needed to be paid. King George decided the American colonies would be taxed to raise the extra revenue. He put an aggressive tax plan in place and required the colonies to purchase all manufactured goods from England. The colonists were enraged and turned to smuggling goods from other countries to avoid the taxes. When King George discovered this, he sent soldiers to search colonial homes for smuggled items. The colonists cried "taxation without representation" and "unlawful searches." They pleaded with the king to stop, but King George ignored their cries.
 
3     King George's tyrannical practices caused the states to rethink their loyalty to the crown. They began to communicate with one another about the oppressive taxes. A united sense of purpose to end the tyranny arose. When King George added a tax stamp to newspapers and other official papers, tensions escalated.
 
4     With the growing tension, the king decided to eliminate all taxes except the tea tax. However, he also instituted the Tea Act, which stated that tea could only be bought and sold through the British East India Company. Colonial tea companies were irate. They would be put out of business. Instead of relieving tensions, this act intensified them.
 
5     In 1773, ships loaded with tea arrived in Boston Harbor. Colonial men dressed as Indians threw the tea overboard. This act became known as the Boston Tea Party. King George was furious and decided to force the colonists to behave. He sent British ships and soldiers to Boston to make an example of the city. The ships blockaded the harbor, and soldiers surrounded Boston, attempting to cut off supplies to the city. However, instead of resulting in the submission of the colonists, the plan backfired. The colonies came to the aid of Boston and smuggled supplies into the city. The colonists refused to be bullied and defied the British at every opportunity.
 
6     In September of 1774, delegates from each of the states attended the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia to discuss the situation with England. They drafted a list of grievances and sent them to the king. They informed King George that they were ending all trade with England. A meeting was planned for May 10, 1775, to discuss the king's reply. However, the reply came in the form of additional troops from England. The colonists turned from resistance to rebellion.
 
7     On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode through the Middlesex countryside to warn the colonists of the advancing British army. In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, a group of British soldiers met a small band of Minutemen on Lexington Green. "The shot heard round the world" was fired, and the American Revolution began. The British troops moved through the Massachusetts countryside meeting more and more resistance. Eventually, they were forced back to Boston.
 
8     As sporadic fighting between the colonies and British troops increased, the colonial militia needed leadership. They were a rag-tag group of farmers and tradesmen with no training. They had heart and determination, but they needed someone to turn them into a fighting force. George Washington agreed to take control of the army. He trained them and turned them into a force to reckon with. King George needed to send many more soldiers to crush the rebellion. However, dealing with individual colonies presented a daunting task to the British king.
 
9     Late in 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Patriot leaders such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and John Adams from Massachusetts and Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee from Virginia called for independence from England. Soon, the plea for independence rang through the thirteen colonies. All over America, states held meetings to vote for independence. Each state sent the results to their representative in Congress. "Independence" was their declaration.

Paragraphs 10 to 20:
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