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July 4, 1776
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
To announce and explain separation from Great Britain.
God made all men equal and gave them the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The main business of government is to protect these rights.
If a government tries to withhold these rights, the people are free to revolt and to set up a new government.
The Declaration was the birth certificate of the American nation. It enshrined what came to be seen as the most succinct and memorable statement of the ideals on which that nation was founded: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the consent of the governed; and resistance to tyranny. And, as the first successful declaration of independence in world history, its example helped to inspire countless movements for independence, self-determination, and revolution after 1776.