Declaration of Independence 1776
Declaration of Independence (1776)
the declaration adopted on July 4 of that year by the Second Continental Congress, a body composed of representatives from the British colonies during the War of Independence in North America (1775-83), which was a bourgeois revolution.
The declaration was drafted for the most part by T. Jefferson and reflected republican and democratic ideals. It proclaimed the separation of the colonies from the mother country and the establishment of a new independent state—the United States of America. The declaration replaced the prevailing theory of the divine source of authority by the idea of the sovereignty of the people. It proclaimed the right of the people to revolution, the equality of all persons before the law, and the inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Under pressure from the slaveowners, however, the clause in the draft declaration condemning slavery was excluded. The declaration had great historical significance, since it was regarded as a call to struggle against absolutism under the feudal order. K. Marx referred to it as “the first declaration of human rights” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 16, p. 17).