On June 1, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution to the 2nd Continental Congress proposing independence for the colonies. It contained 3 parts: a declaration of independence, a plan for forming foreign alliances, and a plan of confederation to be prepared for discussion among the colonies.
On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed three committees to respond to the Lee Resolution, one for each section. On July 2, 1776, Congress adopted the declaration section. The plan for forming foreign alliances was approved in Sept 1776, and the plan of confederation was approved in November of 1777.
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.
That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation."