Declaration of Independence

1776

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. Text adapted from “On the Other Side” in the October 2004 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention


Tags


Media


Educational Resources


Additional Resources


Exhibits