9780979999703 / 0979999707

Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America's Founding Document


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Publisher:Library, 2008



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About the book:

Featuring the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection at the University of Virginia Library

From the preface

"The Declaration of Independence is a statement of conviction and intent. When Jefferson wrote that `all men are created equal,' he, a slave master, knew perfectly how much had still to be done by those who would follow to attain such a society in fact not theory. But that is part of our strength, that we Americans are called on, one generation after another, to achieve the promise. We have a star to steer by."--David McCullough, author of 1776 and John Adams, and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

From the epilogue

"If we are to survive as a nation, it is critical that our citizenry know and understand the beliefs and tenets that underwrite the Declaration of Independence. . . . Its origins and influences have much to teach us, and I can think of no better way to pursue that study than through the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection at the University of Virginia." --Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

The Declaration of Independence is the touchstone of American nationhood, the document that marks the beginning of our history as a people. Eloquently articulating the principles and sentiments that drove patriotic subjects of King George III to resistance and revolution, the Declaration has served as a sacred text for subsequent generations of Americans.

This volume asks us to reread and rethink our founding document. The Declaration as we now understand it--the stirring passages that define our democratic creed--is not the Declaration that Thomas Jefferson and his congressional colleagues drafted, nor the document that inspired or provoked contemporaneous readers and listeners at home and abroad.

Essays by four of the Declaration's leading students--David Armitage, Pauline Maier, Robert M. S. McDonald, and Robert G. Parkinson--make the historic text come alive, enabling us to hear what it had to say in its own time and what it might have to say to us today. Copiously illustrated with selections from the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection at the University of Virginia and complemented by biographical sketches of the Declaration signers, this volume offers a rich resource for discovering the origin and influence of America's founding document.

Distributed for the University of Virginia Library

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