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What effect did the declaration of independence have on average colonists?

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It depends on whether or not the colonist in question desired independence from Great Britain. It is doubtful that many farmers and craftsmen and such were rallied to the cause by Jefferson's stirring words. However, there was some benefit, on the colonial leader's part, of "burning bridges" with Britain. Some "fence-sitters" no doubt became more committed (one way or another) because the war took on more significance after July 4, 1776. It became more difficult to remain neutral and each side strengthened in their resolve, since there was no going back. A good number of average colonists who never read or listened to the Declaration were still affected since it ruined any real prospect of a resolution short of total victory or total defeat. Finally, all colonists were affected in the sense that, once the war was over, they were no longer colonists! more
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