What does the Declaration of Independence say?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Declaration says many things, but it can basically be divided into a few key parts. The first states the reasons for writing the document, namely to tell mankind why the Americans are declaring independence. This is followed by a statement of the purpose of government and an assertion of the right of revolution when government fails to live up to that purpose, namely the protection of "unalienable rights". The third, and longest section, is a list of accusations against King George III. Essentially the Declaration held him responsible for violating their rights, which was, as I mentioned above, their justification for revolution. In the final section of the document, the signers announced that all political connections were dissolved between Great Britain and its former colonies, and pledged themselves to bringing about independence. Many people after the fact have read the Declaration as a kind of "statement of principles" of the new nation, but this is not really how it was read at the time. For a copy of the Declaration itself, see the link below.

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