The Declaration of Independence was largely written by Thomas Jefferson. It announced that the American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire.The lead up of declaration began at 1774 when Parliament refused to repeal the American duty on tea and passed Coercive Acts to force Massachusetts to pay for the tea. Patriot leaders formed the Continental Congress from 12 mainland colonies.The colonies said they must “hang together or will each hang separately.” A majority of delegates passed a Declaration of Rights and Grievances and repudiated Declaratory Act of 1766. The Congress approved a program of economic retaliation that Americans would stop importing British goods in 1774. Yet, after the actual exchange of fire power between U.K. soldiers and U.S. colonies, the second meeting of Continental Congress formed national army and lead by George Washington.Later on, British immigrant Thomas Paine published "Common Sense" in January 1776. In Common Sense, he said that “ a continental form of government, can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civilwars.” He complained British’s government system and urged Americans to create independent republican states.