What were some main ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence?

The main ideas of Declaration of Independence include the notion that "all men are created equal" and that everyone has the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Declaration of Independence says that the purpose of government is to protect these rights and values.

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One of the most important points made by Jefferson in the opening of the Declaration of Independence, one that is easy to overlook given what follows the first paragraph, is Jefferson's argument that one group of people has the right to separate from another group of people

and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them.

Jefferson's reference to two seemingly separate legal authorities here—Nature and Nature's God—have been the subject of intense speculation about whether Jefferson refers to two sources of laws or conflates Nature and God into a single entity. We know, based on Jefferson's writings, that he is skeptical of many aspects of biblical tradition and Christian doctrine—after all, he lives in and exemplifies the Age of Reason—but it is reasonable to conclude that his argument here is a rhetorical device to express the overwhelming legal justification for the separation....

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1163 words.)

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