The Declaration of Independence

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Visit the Declaration of Independence section at monticello.org to learn more.

DoI Rough draught, page 1.jpg
Jefferson’s "original rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence, page 1.
Library of Congress
Engraving of the Declaration.jpg
Declaration of Independence engraved by William Stone, 1823.Library of Congress
Jeffersons Lap Desk.jpg
Jefferson’s portable desk on which he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
National Museum of American History
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The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, 1818.Office of the Architect of the United States Capitol 
DoI Rough draught, page 1.jpg
Engraving of the Declaration.jpg
Jeffersons Lap Desk.jpg
Dec-of-Ind.jpg

In the Declaration, Jefferson eloquently announced the creation of the new American nation. He presented Americans as a self-governing people committed to the principles of liberty and equality in the face of British tyranny. “All men are created equal,” Jefferson wrote, and the importance of this ideal necessitated that “a people … advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained” in order to “institute new government.” The founders’ vision did not include one-fifth of the American population: enslaved men, women, and children who labored in nearly every one of the “Free and Independent States.”

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