Read transcripts of debates in both Houses
Produced by Commons Library, Lords Library and Parliamentary Office Science and Technology
Search for Members by name, postcode, constituency and party
Learn about their experience, knowledge and interests
A year-long programme of events, projects and resources
February Artwork of the Month by Edward Matthew Ward
Find out how to register to vote and take part in the UK general election on 7 May 2015
See all available tours of Parliament
Clocks in Parliament Mug is available from Parliament shop
Browse teaching resources by key stage, subject, theme or resource type
In spite of the outbreak of war in 1775, the legislatures of the American colonies were only gradually persuaded to demand independence; the Declaration was not finally agreed until 4 July 1776. The British government was determined to resist the rebellion but met with military reverses in America and a vociferous, if divided, opposition at home. By the beginning of 1778 the French were also threatening to intervene.
At this time the opposition demanded an enquiry into the state of the nation and called for papers, to reveal, amongst other things, the ineffectiveness of the Prohibitory Act as a means of restoring America to the king's 'peace'. These papers, which were laid before the House of Lords on 20 Jan 1778, included this copy of the American Declaration of Independence. The motion for an enquiry was defeated on 2 February. The war was formally ended by the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on 3 September 1783.
Find out more about the Parliamentary Archives