The Declaration of Independence — released on July 4, 1776 — was Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece. Jefferson himself wrote much about it in essays and letters during the 50 years that followed.
Not the least of what he wrote offered his view that the Declaration and the values that it articulated were truly radical — meaning they reflected 180-degree changes at the very core of societal attitudes in America. The idea that farmers and merchants and lawyers could secede from a kingdom and fight and win a war against the king’s army was the end result of the multigenerational movement that was articulated in the Declaration and culminated in the American Revolution.
The two central values of the Declaration are the origins of human liberty and the legitimacy of popular government.
When Jefferson wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, he was referring to the natural law. The natural law teaches that right and wrong can be
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