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Declaration of Independence
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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. We invite you to read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration.

Learn More About the Declaration

The article "The Declaration of Independence: A History," provides a detailed account of the Declaration, from its drafting through its preservation today at the National Archives.

"The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence" by Stephen Lucas. By closely examining its language, this perceptive article sheds light on the Declaration as a work of literature and of persuasion. From Prologue, Spring 1990.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights strongly influenced Thomas Jefferson in writing the first part of the Declaration of Independence. It later provided the foundation for the Bill of Rights.

Learn about Our National Treasure, interesting and informative facts about the Declaration and its history.

...and on other web sites...

Learn more about the Writing and Publicizing of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States by visiting the Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) web site.

View documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, part of the Library of Congress' American Memory web site. This site also provides related manuscript, printed, and iconographic materials.

Choose a pen and  add your name to the Declaration of Independence alongside our Forefathers
Displayed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, these immense murals have been restored to their original beauty

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Note: The above image of the Declaration is taken from the engraving made by printer William J. Stone in 1823 and is the most frequently reproduced version of the document. The original Declaration (pictured below), now exhibited in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in Washington, DC, has faded badly—largely because of poor preservation techniques during the 19th century. Today, this priceless document is maintained under the most exacting archival conditions possible.

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