“When the people fear the government, this is tyranny;

when the government fears the people, there is liberty”

–Thomas Jefferson

The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Continental Congress, was a drafted formal statement justifying the cessation with Great Britain by the 13 British colonies of America to sought independence in July of 1776.

It was divided into five sections which included an introduction, a preamble, a body and a conclusion. The introduction stated the need for independence from Britain as being ‘necessary’ for the colonies. While the body of the document summarised a list of objections against the Crown, the preamble included the famous passage “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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.”

As the first formal proclamation by a nation’s people asserting their right to elect their own government, the Declaration of Independence became a weighty breakthrough in the history of democracy. It also exerted a terrific influence outside America, most notably in France during the French Revolution. Together with the Constitution and the Bill of rights, the Declaration of Independence can be considered as one of the three important founding documents of the United States government.