The Declaration of Independence is an important document which declared the independence of the Thirteen British Colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America from Great Britain. US Citizenship & Immigration Services considers it an important principle of American Democracy and government and its US naturalization exam contains multiple questions about it.
The declaration was drafted by what is known as the Committee of Five: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. Even though the colonies had already been at war with the British for over a year, the declaration was important because it formally explained why the Continental Congress had voted to declare independence. The document argues for certain rights could not be denied to men, including Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness.
The irony of how the Declaration of Independence listed these undeniable rights as justification for a revolution against British rule while slavery was considered legal is not lost on most of us. Thomas Jefferson himself had multiple slaves. Nor how women were not given the right to vote until 1920 with the passing of the 19th amendment. Nonetheless, the Declaration of Independence reinforced the idea that basic rights ought to be protected and it inspired future movements that helped and continue to advance human rights in the USA and abroad.