Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's mostcherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson'smost enduring monument. Here, in exaltedand unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressedthe convictions in the minds and hearts of theAmerican 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 tosummarize this philosophy in "self-evidenttruths" and set forth a list of grievances againstthe King in order to justify before the worldthe breaking of ties between the colonies andthe mother country. We invite you toread atranscriptionof the complete text of the
The above image of the Declarationis taken from the engraving made by printer William J. Stone in 1823 and is the mostfrequently reproduced version of thedocument. The original Declaration(pictured below), nowexhibited in theRotunda for the Charters of Freedomin
drafting through its preservation today at the National Archives."