What other declarations does Maier discuss and what importance does she attach to them?In American Scripture chapter 2
In Appendix A and in Chapter 2, Maier catalogues the many local and state declarations that preceded the national Declaration of Independence. There were also grand jury presentments and declarations made by Private and Quasi-Private Groups, such as the New York Mechanics in Union. There were, in addition, declarations made by towns, many of them in New England. The original declaration was, as Maier writes, the Declaration of Rights of 1689 in England, which formed the literary and historical precedent for the American Declaration of Independence.
Maier views the array of local, state, and other declarations as indicative of the feeling of the American public towards independence. Though some of the groups professed to speak for a greater proportion of the citizenry than they really did, the declarations attest to the growing groundswell of public opinion in favor of revolution even before the Second Continental Congress drafted the Declaration of Independence. These documents are important barometers of the way ordinary people across the colonies felt about independence in the lead-up to the Declaration of Independence. In fact, Maier believes these local documents inspired the Declaration of Independence.
One of the major things that Maier is trying to do in her book is to argue that the Declaration of Independence was an American document, not just one that was written by Thomas Jefferson. Her argument in Chapter 2 ties in to this.
What she says in Chapter 2 is that many states and even localities (she says as many as 90) produced their own declarations of independence. Many of these were written before the Congressional one that Jefferson wrote. She says that these declarations tended to be in the same format as Jefferson's declaration. They tended to, for example, talk about what events had happened that justified them declaring their independence.
So Maier is saying that these documents provided an inspiration for Jefferson and the Congress as they worked on their declaration -- the one we now know.