Some Facts About the Declaration of Independence

Updated June 27, 2019 

How familiar are you with the Declaration of Independence? There’s a lot of really cool stuff to know about the founding of the United States of America. But let’s start at the beginning, with what is probably the most quoted government document ever written.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription [from the National Archives]

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.

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.–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. [Read More]

If you were educated in the U.S., the bulk of what you learned in history class focused on the struggles by our ancestors to settle this country and, eventually, form the independent nation we know today.

You may be surprised to learn that three presidents have died on July 4th! There other key dates before and after the fourth that are relevant to our nation’s history.

Feeling a bit rusty on the details? Or are you prepping for a future AP US exam? Or maybe you’re just feeling a little patriotic. You can use the following reading list to get caught up.

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