From 1776 to 1865, what become of the Declaration of Independence?According to Chap. 4 american scripture-
I believe that the answer to this question can be found in the title of Part 2 of Chapter 4 -- "An All-But-Forgotten Testament." Basically, Maier argues that for many years after the Declaration was written, people paid very little attention to the actual Declaration and its words. This later changed and the declaration itself became very important.
For example, she says (p. 169 in my copy of the book) that there is very little reference to the Declaration in Jefferson's own papers.
Instead of venerating the words of the Declaration (as we now do), people of the time saw the Declaration only for its actual function. In other words, they saw it only as the document that declared independence, not as an important statement of political principle that deserved to be honored in its own right.
By the mid-1820s, the Declaration was being venerated as it now is. This continued up through the tiem of the Civil War when Pres. Lincoln had a very special place in his political heart for the Declaration.
Overall, then, the answer is that the Declaration declined in popular opinion but then came back to the place it now holds.