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Encyclopedia > United States Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence
Created July 4, 1776
Location National Archives and Records Administration
Authors Thomas Jefferson, John Adams & Benjamin Franklin
Signers Continental Congress
Purpose Declare independence from Great Britain

The United States Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the Thirteen Colonies in North America were "Free and Independent States" and that "all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved." The document, formally entitled The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,[1] explained the justifications for separation from the British crown, and was an expansion of Richard Henry Lee's Resolution (passed by Congress in July 2), which first proclaimed independence. An engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by most of the delegates on August 2 and is now on display in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1961x2328, 1116 KB) Summary High resolution ehanced image of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... The National Archives building in Washington, DC The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... The Continental Congress was the first national government of the United States. ... John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence depicts the five-man drafting committee presenting the first draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Second Continental Congress. ... is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ... In 1775, the British claimed authority over the red and pink areas on this map and Spain ruled the orange. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was an American who served as the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785. ... The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The National Archives building in Washington, DC The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... For other uses, see Washington, D.C. (disambiguation). ...


The Declaration is considered to be the founding document of the United States of America, where July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day and the nation's birthday. At the time the Declaration was issued, the American colonies were "united" in declaring their independence from Great Britain. John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Fourth of July redirects here. ... For other persons named John Hancock, see John Hancock (disambiguation). ...


US President Abraham Lincoln succinctly explained the central importance of the Declaration to American history in his Gettysburg Address of 1863: Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... American history redirects here. ... The only known photo of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg (seated), taken about noon, just after Lincoln arrived and some three hours before he spoke. ...

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Contents

The quotation All men are created equal (sometimes modified to All people are created equal) is arguably the best-known phrase in any of Americas political documents, as the idea it expresses is generally considered the foundation of American democracy. ...

History

Background

Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration.
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration.

As relations between Great Britain and its American colonies became increasingly strained, the Americans set up a shadow government in each colony, with a Continental Congress and Committees of Correspondence linking these shadow governments. As soon as fighting broke out in April 1775, these shadow governments took control of each colony and ousted all the royal officials. Sentiment for outright independence grew rapidly in response to British actions; the options were clarified by Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, released in January 1776. Image File history File links from public educational institution website File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links from public educational institution website File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... A shadow government is a government-in-waiting that remains in waiting with the intent to take control of the government in response to some event. ... The First Continental Congress was a body of representatives appointed by the legislatures of twelve North American colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1774. ... This article is about the historical committee of correspondence. ... The Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War and was described as the shot heard round the world in Emersons Concord Hymn. ... For other persons of the same name, see Thomas Paine (disambiguation). ... Common Sense redirects here. ...


Draft and adoption

In June of 1776, a committee of the Second Continental Congress consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut (the "Committee of Five") was formed to draft a suitable declaration to frame this resolution. The committee decided that Jefferson would write the draft, which he showed to Franklin and Adams. Prior to deciding on Jefferson, both Adams and Franklin turned down the offer, citing that if they wrote it people would read it with a biased eye. Franklin himself made at least 48 corrections. Jefferson then produced another copy incorporating these changes, and the committee presented this copy to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence depicts the five-man drafting committee presenting the first draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Second Continental Congress. ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Shermans marble statute in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol. ... The Committee of Five was the group delegated by the Second Continental Congress on June 11, 1776 to draft the United States Declaration of Independence. ... is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ...


A formal declaration for independence was delayed on July 2, 1776, pursuant to the "Lee Resolution" presented by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, which read (in part): '"Resolved: 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."' is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ... The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was an American who served as the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785. ... is the 158th day of the year (159th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ...


The full Declaration was reworked somewhat in general session of the Continental Congress. Congress, meeting in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, finished revising Jefferson's draft statement on July 4, approved it, and sent it to a printer. At the signing, Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having stated: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately,"[citation needed] a play on words indicating that failure to stay united and succeed would lead to being tried and executed, individually, for treason. Independence Hall is a U.S. national landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


Analysis

Influences

The Declaration of Independence was also strongly influenced by Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense and from the Enlightenment. It even borrowed one of the sentences; the line "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property" from Common Sense was changed to "among these are Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". "The pursuit of Happiness" was also a line from Common Sense, that was used in a different part of the pamphlet. This is not particularly plagiarism, as Sense was very influential to Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, as well as most Americans as a whole. For other persons of the same name, see Thomas Paine (disambiguation). ... Common Sense redirects here. ...

Thomas Paine's Common Sense contributed many ideas to the Declaration.
Thomas Paine's Common Sense contributed many ideas to the Declaration.

radical thinker! File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... radical thinker! File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... For other persons of the same name, see Thomas Paine (disambiguation). ... Common Sense redirects here. ...

Philosophical background

The Preamble of the Declaration is influenced by the spirit of republicanism, which was used as the basic framework for liberty.[2] In addition, it reflects the concepts of natural law, and self-determination. Ideas and even some of the phrasing was taken directly from the writings of English philosopher John Locke. Thomas Paine's Common Sense had been widely read and provided a simple, clear case for independence that many found compelling. According to Jefferson, the purpose of the Declaration was "not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of . . . but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take." Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, rule by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. ... Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) is an ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere. ... Self-determination is a principle in international law that a people ought to be able to determine their own governmental forms and structure free from outside influence. ... For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... For other persons of the same name, see Thomas Paine (disambiguation). ...


International law

Armitage (2002) examines the Declaration of Independence in the context of late-18th century international law and argues its legitimacy derived more from its broad appeal to diverse audiences than from its comportment with extant principles of international relations. He analyzes the Declaration's structure and fundamental arguments, concluding that its partial reliance on an individual natural rights political discourse seemed outdated, if not obsolete, in an international arena where positivist jurisprudential philosophy was increasingly becoming the preferred referent. Armitage highlights the consequent apprehension felt by leading American statesmen during 1776-79, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as the manifesto circulated throughout Europe receiving an ambiguous reception at best. Nonetheless, with the de jure acceptance of US independence in the Treaty of Paris (1783), arguments regarding the legal foundations of the Declaration of Independence became irrelevant, as its objective and its success as a document written to appeal to internal as well as foreign audiences became more widely recognized and admired. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Painting by Benjamin West depicting (from left to right) John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. ...


Practical effects

As a proclamation, the Declaration was used as a propaganda tool, in which the Americans tried to establish clear reasons for their rebellion that might persuade reluctant colonists to join them and establish their just cause to foreign governments that might lend them aid. The Declaration also served to unite the members of the Continental Congress. The Declaration of Independence was also used as a foreign policy announcement; since the United States were now separate and independent nations, the war was escalated from a civil war to a war of independence, and therefore foreign nations who were enemies of Great Britain were free to intervene, like the French. One in five colonists [1](calling themselves loyalists or Tories) refused to accept the Declaration and continued to profess their allegiance to the British monarchy, with over 700 of them signing their own "declaration" in a pub on Wall Street [2]. Many were upper class landowners and businessmen who felt the new republic would strip them of their land rights and social class.[citation needed]


The Declaration published outside the Thirteen Colonies

The Declaration of Independence was first published in full outside North America by the Belfast Newsletter on the 23rd of August, 1776.[3] A copy of the document was being transported to London via ship when bad weather forced the vessel to port at Derry. The document was then carried on horseback to Belfast for the continuation of its voyage to England, whereupon copy was made for the Belfast newspaper.[4][5] The News Letter is one of Northern Irelands main daily newspapers, published Monday to Saturday. ... For other places with similar names, see Derry (disambiguation) and Londonderry (disambiguation). ... This article is about the city in Northern Ireland. ...


The first edition of the Declaration of Independence was reprinted at London in the August 1776 issue of The Gentleman's Magazine. The Gentleman's Magazine had been following American issues for many years, and its editors (Edward Cave and, subsequently, David Henry) were close to Benjamin Franklin in particular, publishing several of his writings on electricity. The Declaration itself was followed in the September issue by "Thoughts on the late Declaration of the American Congress", signed only "An Englishman". The author identified certain absurdities (as he saw them) contained in the now famous words of the preamble. Most notably, he pointed out the document's inconsistency with the fact that slavery and government was still being practiced in America (emphasized in the following excerpt): The Gentlemans Magazine was the first general-interest magazine, and the most influential periodical of its time. ...

We hold (they say) these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal. In what are they created equal? Is it in size, understanding, figure, moral or civil accomplishments, or situation of life? Every plough-man knows that they are not created equal in any of these....That every man hath an unalienable right to liberty; and here the words, as it happens, are not nonsense, but they are not true: slaves there are in America, and where there are slaves, there liberty is alienated. If the Creator hath endowed man with an unalienable right to liberty, no reason in the world will justify the abridgement of that liberty, and a man hath a right to do everything that he thinks proper without controul or restraint; and upon the same principle, there can be no such things as servants, subjects, or government of any kind whatsoever. In a word, every law that hath been in the world since the formation of Adam, gives the lie to this self-evident truth, (as they are pleased to term it) ; because every law, divine or human, that is or hath been in the world, is an abridgement of man's liberty. (The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 46, pp. 403–404)

Distribution and copies

John Trumbull's famous painting is usually incorrectly identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress.
John Trumbull's famous painting is usually incorrectly identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress.

After its adoption by Congress on July 4, a handwritten draft signed by the President of Congress John Hancock and the Secretary Charles Thomson was then sent a few blocks away to the printing shop of John Dunlap. Through the night between 150 and 200 copies were made, now known as "Dunlap broadsides". One was sent to George Washington on July 6, who had it read to his troops in New York on July 9. A copy reached London on August 10.[citation needed] The 25 Dunlap broadsides still known to exist are the oldest surviving copies of the document. The original handwritten copy has not survived. Image File history File links Declaration_independence. ... Image File history File links Declaration_independence. ... This article is about the American painter. ... John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence is an iconic 12- by 18-foot painting in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda depicting the presentation of the draft of the Declaration to Congress. ... is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other persons named John Hancock, see John Hancock (disambiguation). ... For other persons named Charles Thomson, see Charles Thomson (disambiguation). ... DUNLAP, John, printer, born in Strabane, Ireland, in 1747; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 November, 1812. ... A Dunlap broadside is one of 25 original printings of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ...


On July 19, Congress ordered a copy be "engrossed" (hand written in fair script on parchment by an expert penman) for the delegates to sign. This engrossed copy was produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress. Most of the delegates signed it on August 2, 1776, in geographic order of their colonies from north to south, though some delegates were not present and had to sign later. Late signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton (who, because of a lack of space, was unable to place his signature on the top right of the signing area with the other New Hampshire delegates, William Whipple and Josiah Bartlett, and had to place his signature on the lower right). Two delegates never signed. The first was Robert R. Livingston of New York, a member of the original drafting committee. Livingston was present for the vote on July 2 but returned to New York before the August 2 signing. The second was John Dickinson, a member of the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, who was against separation from Great Britain and labored to change the language of the Declaration of Independence to leave open the possibility of a reconciliation with Great Britain. As new delegates joined the congress, they were also allowed to sign. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed (see Category:Signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence). This engrossed copy is now on display at the National Archives. Timothy Matlack (1736–April 14, 1829) was an American brewer, merchant and statesman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1780. ... Elbridge Thomas Gerry (pronounced ) (July 17, 1744 – November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat. ... Oliver Wolcott (December 1, 1726–December 1, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Connecticut. ... Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726– January 22, 1798) was an American landowner and developer from Morrisania, New York. ... Thomas McKean Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734–June 24, 1817) was the second President of the United States in Congress assembled, from July 10, 1781, until November 4, 1781. ... Matthew Thornton Matthew Thornton (1714 – June 24, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire. ... Josiah Bartlett (November 21, 1729–May 19, 1795), was an American physician and statesman who, as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire, signed the Declaration of Independence. ... Robert R. Livingston (November 27, 1746 - February 26, 1813), of New York, was a delegate to the New York state constitutional convention and a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, although he was recalled by his state before he could sign it. ... John Dickinson is the name of: John Dickinson (delegate) (1732–1808), American lawyer, delegate to the Continental Congress and to the Constitutional Convention John Dickinson (1782–1869) (1782-1869), English inventor and founder of the seeder mills at Apsley and Nash Mills John Dickinson, New Zealander, trumpet player. ...

A now very badly faded original copy of the signed Declaration from the National Archives.
A now very badly faded original copy of the signed Declaration from the National Archives.

On January 18, 1777, the Continental Congress ordered that the declaration be more widely distributed. The second printing was made by Mary Katharine Goddard. The first printing had included only the names John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Goddard's printing was the first to list all signatories. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (7530x9155, 14861 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): United States Declaration of Independence Historical document User:Mactographer Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (7530x9155, 14861 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): United States Declaration of Independence Historical document User:Mactographer Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from... The National Archives building in Washington, DC The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... Mary Katherine Goddard (June 16, 1738-1816) was an early American publisher and the first American postmistress. ...


In 1823, printer William J. Stone was commissioned by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to create an engraving [3] of the document essentially identical to the original. Stone's copy was made using a wet-ink transfer process, where the surface of the document was moistened, and some of the original ink transferred to the surface of a copper plate which was then etched so that copies could be run off the plate on a press[6]. Because of poor conservation of the 1776 document through the 19th century, Stone's engraving, rather than the original, has become the basis of most modern reproductions[7] John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was a diplomat, politician, and the sixth President of the United States (March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829). ...


The first German translation of the Declaration was published July 6-8, 1776, as a broadside in unfolded form by the printing press of Steiner & Cist of Philadelphia.[8] A broadside is a large sheet of paper, generally printed on one side and folded into a smaller size, often used as a direct-mail piece or for door-to-door distribution. ...

National Bureau of Standards preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951.

Gustafson (2004) traces the paths taken by the original manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights prior to being placed permanently in the National Archives. From 1776 to 1921 the Declaration moved from one city to another and to different public buildings until placed in the Department of State library. The Constitution was never exhibited, and the Bill of Rights' provenance up to 1938 is largely unknown. From 1921 to 1952 the Declaration and the Constitution were at the Library of Congress, and the National Archives held the Bill of Rights. Image File history File linksMetadata 1951PreservationOfDeclarationOfIndependenceByNBS.jpg NBS preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951 Source: Department of Commerce Photographic Services File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata 1951PreservationOfDeclarationOfIndependenceByNBS.jpg NBS preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951 Source: Department of Commerce Photographic Services File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... As a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. ...


In 1952, the librarian of Congress and the US archivist agreed on moving the Declaration and the Constitution to the National Archives. Since 1953 the three documents have been called the Charters of Freedom. Encased in 1951, by the early 1980s deterioration threatened the documents. In 2001, using the latest in preservation technology, conservators treated the documents and re-encased them in encasements made of titanium and aluminum. They were put on display again with the opening of the remodeled National Archives Rotunda in 2003.


Annotated text of the Declaration

The declaration is not divided into formal sections; but it is often discussed as consisting of five parts: Introduction, the Preamble, the Indictment of George III, the Denunciation of the British people, and the Conclusion.[9] “George III” redirects here. ...

Introduction

Asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and ought to be explained.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) is an ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere. ...

Preamble

Outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies revolution when government harms natural rights.[9]

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Note: the original hand-written text ended on the phrase "the pursuit of property" rather than "the pursuit of Happiness" but the phrase was changed in subsequent copies in part because it was broader. The latter phrase is used today). In epistemology, a self-evident proposition is one that can be understood only by one who knows that it is true. ... The quotation All men are created equal (sometimes modified to All people are created equal) is arguably the best-known phrase in any of Americas political documents, as the idea it expresses is generally considered the foundation of American democracy. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... The term inalienable rights (or unalienable rights) refers to a set of human rights that are in some sense fundamental, are not awarded by human power, and cannot be surrendered. ... “The pursuit of happiness” redirects here. ...


That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Consent of the governed is a political theory stating that a governments legitimacy and moral right to use state power is, or ought to be, derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised. ... The right to revolution, in political philosophy, is a right articulated by John Locke in Two Treatises of Government as part of his social contract theory. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Revolution (disambiguation). ...

Indictment

A bill of particulars documenting the king's "repeated injuries and usurpations" of the Americans' rights and liberties.[9]

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. “George III” redirects here. ...


He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.


He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.


He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.


He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.


He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.


He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. A judge swears in a new citizen. ... A portion of eastern North America; the 1763 Proclamation line is the border between the red and the pink areas. ...


He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. Modern Obstruction of Justice, in a common law state, refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials. ... // The granting of Royal Assent is the formal method by which a constitutional monarch completes the legislative process of lawmaking by formally assenting to an Act of Parliament. ...


He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. Judicial independence is the doctrine that decisions of the judiciary should be impartial and not subject to influence from the other branches of government or from private or political interests. ...


He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.


He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. A standing army is an army composed of full time professional soldiers. ...


He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. U.S. President Abraham Lincolns active involvement in the conduct of the American Civil War, which frequently involved pressing his generals to undertake more aggressive actions, set a precedent for the power of the civilian Commander-in-Chief. ...


He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:


For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: Quartering Act is the name of at least two acts of the Parliament of Great Britain. ...


For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: The Administration of Justice Act, or Act for the Impartial Administration of Justice, also popularly called the Murdering Act or Murder Act, an Act passed by the Parliament of Great Britain (citation 14 Geo III c. ...


For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: The Boston Port Act, passed by Britains Parliament and becoming law on 31 March 1774, is one of the measures (variously called the Intolerable Acts, the Punitive Acts or the Coercive Acts) that were designed to secure American dominions. ...


For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:


For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Jury. ...


For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: Extradition is the official process by which one nation or state requests and obtains from another nation or state the surrender of a suspected or convicted criminal. ...


For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... // The Quebec Act of 1774 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (citation 14 Geo. ...


For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: The Massachusetts Government Act (citation 14 Geo. ...


For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.


He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.


He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.


He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. This article belongs in one or more categories. ... Petrarch, who conceived the idea of a European Dark Age. From Cycle of Famous Men and Women, Andrea di Bartolo di Bargillac, c. ...


He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. Look up Impressment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands [1]. Oceans and seas, waters...


He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.


In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Denunciation

This section essentially finished the case for independence. The conditions that justified revolution have been shown.[9] Many Americans still felt a kinship with the people of England, and had appealed in vain to the prominent among them, as well as to Parliament, to convince the King to relax his more objectionable policies toward the colonies.[10] This section represents the Framers' disappointment that their attempts were unsuccessful.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Conclusion

The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions, and by necessity the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2. The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Signatures

The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26), was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows (from North to South):[11] For other persons named John Hancock, see John Hancock (disambiguation). ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749–January 23, 1800), South Carolina statesman, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of South Carolina. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...

Official language(s) English Capital Concord Largest city Manchester Area  Ranked 46th  - Total 9,350 sq mi (24,217 km²)  - Width 68 miles (110 km)  - Length 190 miles (305 km)  - % water 4. ... Josiah Bartlett (November 21, 1729–May 19, 1795), was an American physician and statesman who, as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire, signed the Declaration of Independence. ... William Whipple, Jr. ... Matthew Thornton Matthew Thornton (1714 – June 24, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... For other uses, see Samuel Adams (disambiguation). ... For other persons named John Adams, see John Adams (disambiguation). ... For other persons named John Hancock, see John Hancock (disambiguation). ... Robert Treat Paine; Signer of the Declaration of Independence Robert Treat Paine Robert Treat Paine(March 11, 1731–May 11, 1814) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Massachusetts. ... Elbridge Thomas Gerry (pronounced ) (July 17, 1744 – November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Stephen Hopkins Stephen Hopkins (March 7, 1707–July 13, 1785) was an American political leader from Rhode Island who signed the Declaration of Independence. ... William Ellery William Ellery (December 22, 1727–February 15, 1820), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Rhode Island. ... Official language(s) English Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport[3] Largest metro area Hartford Metro Area[2] Area  Ranked 48th  - Total 5,543[4] sq mi (14,356 km²)  - Width 70 miles (113 km)  - Length 110 miles (177 km)  - % water 12. ... Shermans marble statute in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol. ... Samuel Huntington, 1731-1796, drawn from the life by Du Simitier in Philadelphia; engraved by B.L. Prevost at Paris. ... William Williams (April 28, 1731– August 2, 1811) was an American merchant and political leader from Lebanon, Connecticut. ... Oliver Wolcott (December 1, 1726–December 1, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Connecticut. ... This article is about the state. ... William Floyd in a 1792 portrait This article is about the signer of the Decleration of Independence. ... Philip Livingston Philip Livingston (January 15, 1716 – June 12, 1778), was an American merchant and statesman from New York City. ... Francis Lewis Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713 – December 30, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York. ... Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726– January 22, 1798) was an American landowner and developer from Morrisania, New York. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Richard Stockton Richard Stockton (October 1, 1730 – February 28, 1781) was an American lawyer, jurist, legislator, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. ... John Witherspoon Dr. John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. ... Francis Hopkinson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... For other persons named John Hart, see John Hart (disambiguation). ... Abraham Clark (February 15, 1725—September 15, 1794) was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. ... Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Largest metro area Delaware Valley Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 280 miles (455 km)  - Length 160 miles (255 km)  - % water 2. ... Robert Morris Robert Morris, Jr. ... Dr. Benjamin Rush, painted by Charles Willson Peale, c. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... John Morton (1724-1777), from Chester, Pennsylvania, was the delegate who cast the deciding vote in favor of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... George Clymer (March 16, 1739–January 23, 1813) was an American politician and Founding Father. ... James Smith (about 1719 – July 11, 1806), was a signer to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. ... George Taylor (c. ... For other persons named James Wilson, see James Wilson (disambiguation). ... George Ross (May 10, 1730–July 14, 1779), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Delaware. ... George Read (September 18, 1733 – September 21, 1798) was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware. ... Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 – June 26, 1784), was an American lawyer and politician from St. ... Thomas McKean Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734–June 24, 1817) was the second President of the United States in Congress assembled, from July 10, 1781, until November 4, 1781. ... Official language(s) None (English, de facto) Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Largest metro area Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 42nd  - Total 12,407 sq mi (32,133 km²)  - Width 101 miles (145 km)  - Length 249 miles (400 km)  - % water 21  - Latitude 37° 53′ N to 39° 43′ N... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... William Paca portrait by Charles Willson Peale. ... Thomas Stone Thomas Stone (1743–October 5, 1787) was an American planter who signed United States Declaration of Independence as a delegate for Maryland. ... Charles Carroll (1737-1832) Charles Carroll of Carrollton (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832) was a lawyer and politician from Maryland who was a delegate to the Continental Congress and later a United States Senator. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... George Wythe George Wythe (1726 – June 8, 1806), was a lawyer, a judge, a prominent law professor and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was an American who served as the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... Benjamin Harrison V Benjamin Harrison (V) (April 5, 1726 – April 24, 1791) was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. ... Thomas Nelson, Jr. ... Francis Lightfoot Lee (October 14, 1734–January 11, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Virginia. ... Painting thought to be of Carter Braxton Carter Braxton (September 16, 1736–October 10, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and a representative of Virginia. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Largest metro area Charlotte metro area Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (900 km)  - % water 9. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Joseph Hewes was a native of Connecticut, where he was born in 1730. ... John Penn (May 17, 1741–September 14, 1788), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of North Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Columbia Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N  - Longitude 78° 32′ W to 83... Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749–January 23, 1800), South Carolina statesman, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of South Carolina. ... Thomas Heyward, Jr. ... Thomas Lynch, Jr. ... Arthur Middleton (June 26, 1742–January 1, 1787), of Charleston, South Carolina, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. ... Button Gwinnett. ... This article is about the Georgia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence. ... George Walton George Walton (1749 or 1750–February 2, 1804) signed the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. ...

Popular culture

A fictionalized (but generally historically accurate) version of how the Declaration came about is the musical play (and 1972 movie) 1776, which is usually termed a "musical comedy" but deals frankly with the political issues, especially how disagreement over the institution of slavery almost defeated the Declaration's adoption. The Declaration of Independence is also the central subject of the 2004 Disney film National Treasure, starring Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger. In the film, a hidden treasure map on the back of the Declaration leads treasure hunters to a cache of wealth hidden from the British by Freemasons during the American Revolutionary War. 1776 is the title of a 1969 Broadway musical and its 1972 film adaptation. ... This article is about the film. ... Nicolas Cage (born January 7, 1964) is an Academy Award-winning American actor. ... Diane Kruger (born July 15, 1976), is a German actress and former fashion model. ... “Freemasons” redirects here. ... This article is about military actions only. ...


Anticipating the musical 1776 in a satirical way, Stan Freberg included a segment about the signing of the Declaration in his album The United States of America Volume One to satirize the then-recent "Red Scare". Freberg affected an aged voice to play Franklin, who is skeptical about signing the Declaration document: "You go to a few 'harmless' meetings; sign a few 'harmless' papers; and forget all about it. Years later you wind up in front of a Committee!" Freberg then goes on to sing a song called "A Man Can't Be Too Careful What He Signs These Days". Franklin also asks Jefferson about his spelling. "Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happineff"? (This is a reference to the long S.) Jefferson assures him that this is in, "very in." Stanley Victor Freberg (born August 7, 1926 in Los Angeles) is an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, puppeteer and advertising creative director. ... Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America: Volume One The Early Years (SFPTUSA Vol. ... An italicized long s used in the word Congress in the United States Bill of Rights. ...


Myths

There are several popular myths concerning the Declaration of Independence.

  • A misconception about the Declaration of Independence is that it was the original document by which the Colonies articulated their rejection of British rule. In fact, the Lee Resolution had already declared independence on July 2.
  • Because the Declaration of Independence is dated July 4, 1776 (the date of its approval and adoption by the Continental Congress), many people believe it was signed on that date—in fact, most of the delegates signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776.
  • While the July 4 Declaration differed from the Lee Resolution in that it asserted unanimity, the abstaining Province of New York did not pass its own vote for independence until July 9.
  • A story repeated on National Public Radio during the annual reading of the Declaration on the Morning Edition program was that King George III's diary entry for July 4, 1776, read: "Nothing of importance happened today". In fact, George III never kept a diary. The error was corrected in 2006. [4]
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration was not signed in public as a group. The delegates actually signed it in secret, little by little.

The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ... The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... A map of the Province of New York. ... is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. ... American history redirects here. ... The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: The United States Constitution The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The United States Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. ...

Notes

  1. ^ On July 4 the delegates voted on a document with capital-U United; Jefferson's handwritten draft also used a capital-U. On July 19, Congress ordered that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile of 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,' and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress." However Timothy Matlack the engrosser, a staff member, made an unauthorized change and used a lower-case u in united. See the discussion by the National Archives, "The Declaration of Independence: A History" at http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/declaration_history.html which says "Congress was able to order that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile [sic] of 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America'"--that is, Congress ordered a U-capital and the engrosser made it u-lower.
  2. ^ Wills (1992); Becker (1922); Maier (1997).
  3. ^ Hillbillies in the White House. BBC. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  4. ^ From the President's Desk. Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc. (July 2006). Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  5. ^ The History of The News Letter. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  6. ^ William J. Stone
  7. ^ National Archives.
  8. ^ Deutsches Historisches Museum: Description of Print and Text.
  9. ^ a b c d National Archives
  10. ^ See generally Morgan (2003).
  11. ^ Index of Signers by State. ushistory.org - Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.

For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Armitage, David. "The Declaration of Independence and International Law." William and Mary Quarterly 2002 59(1): 39-64. Issn: 0043-5597 Fulltext online at the History Cooperative
  • Armitage, David. "The Declaration of Independence in World Context." Magazine of History 2004 18(3): 61-66. Issn: 0882-228x Fulltext in Ebsco. Discusses the drafting of the Declaration and the international motivations that inspired it, the global reactions to the document in its first fifty years, and its afterlife as a broad modern statement of individual and collective rights.
  • Bancroft, George. History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent. (1854-78), vol 8 online edition
  • Barthelmas, Della Gray. The Signers of the Declaration of Independence: A Biographical and Genealogical Reference. McFarland, 2003. 334 pp
  • Becker, Carl. The Declaration of Independence: A Study on the History of Political Ideas (1922), online edition
  • Boyd, Julian P. The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text (1945)
  • Alan Dershowitz; America Declares Independence. 2003.
  • Ellis, Joseph J., ed. What Did the Declaration Declare? Bedford Books, 1999. 110 pp. online review
  • Gustafson, Milton. "Travels of the Charters of Freedom." Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 2004 (Special Issue): 8-13. Issn: 0033-1031
  • Jayne, Allen. Jefferson's Declaration of Independence: Origins, Philosophy and Theology. U. Press of Kentucky, 1998. 245 pp. online review
  • Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. Vintage, 1997.
  • Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (1985)
  • Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783 (1948)
  • Morgan, Edmund S. Benjamin Franklin (2003)
  • Garry Wills. Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (2002)

External links

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