United States Declaration of Independence
|United States Declaration of Independence|
1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy
||July 4, 1776|
|Signatories||56 delegates to the
|Purpose||To announce and explain separation from
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the
The Declaration was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes. A
After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed
The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against
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.
This has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language",
 containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
 The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the
The U.S. Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of Flanders issued during the
Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.
By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the
Many colonists, however, had developed a different conception of the empire. The colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, and colonists argued that Parliament had
The issue of Parliament's authority in the colonies became a crisis after Parliament passed the
Most colonists still hoped for reconciliation with Great Britain, even after fighting began in the