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Declaration of Independence Quotes: A Truly Inspirational Document

These Declaration of Independence quotes give context to a document many of us take for granted.

Many people celebrate the 4th of July commemorating the day the United States claimed independence, but actually, the majority of signatures on the document were recorded on July 2, 1776, and many historians note that all of the signatures and the final draft of the document were not completed until August 2, a full month later.

While Thomas Jefferson did write the bulk of the Declaration of Independence, it was signed by others who contributed as well. Today, the text of the original document on parchment paper remains on display in Washington D.C.

Much of the inspiration for the document and its ideas politically and philosophically come from theorists such as John Locke and Algernon Sidney.

Today, the meanings and interpretations remain debated, but the document itself has defined the foundation of American political and social democracy.

Don’t forget to also check out these 4th of July quotes that honor freedom and independence.

Declaration of Independence quotes about America

1. “The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that … and all the glory of it.” – John Adams

2. “The right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence, and ensuring this is upheld is the Constitutional duty of all members of Congress.” – Rand Paul

3. “In the progress of personality, first comes a declaration of independence, then a recognition of interdependence.” – Henry Van Dyke

4. “To me, both the Declaration of Independence and the Communist Manifesto contain underlying truths, but the West doesn’t permit a middle road.”- Sukarno

5. “But Aristotle’s philosophy was the intellect’s Declaration of Independence.” – Ayn Rand

6. “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” – John Adams

7. “In name we had the Declaration of Independence in 1776; but we gave the lie by our acts to the words of the Declaration of Independence until 1865; and words count for nothing except in so far as they represent acts.” –Theodore Roosevelt

8. “The Declaration of Independence was always our vision of who we wanted to be, our ideal of freedom and justice, how we were going to be different, and what the American experiment was going to be about.”- Marian Wright Edelman

9. “The right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the unalienable rights with which the Declaration of Independence proclaims all men [and women] are endowed by their creator.” – Antonin Scalia

10. “The Declaration of Independence to which these great men affixed their signatures is much more than a political document. It constitutes a spiritual manifesto-revelation, if you will-declaring not for this nation only, but for all nations, the source of man’s rights.” – Ezra Taft Benson

11. “A declaration of the independence of America, and the sovereignty of the United States was drawn by the ingenious and philosophic pen of Thomas Jefferson, Esquire, a delegate from the state of Virginia.” – Mercy Otis Warren

12. “You go back and you read your Constitution. You read your Declaration of Independence. And you will see that the only people who could decide these freedoms were white males who owned property, and all the rest of us were excluded.” – John Trudell

13. “Read the Declaration of Independence to your children as a tradition every Fourth of July. Make sure they understand why the word “pursuit” precedes the word “happiness.” – Jeff Bezos

14. “If the Constitution is worth anything, if the Declaration of Independence is worth anything, if the boys who died on the field of battle did not die in vain, fair employment practices are correct and necessary.” – Dennis Chavez

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15. “Tens of thousands of brave Americans died to break the chains of British tyranny so that the principles of our Declaration of Independence could take fold and flourish in the birth of a new nation.”- Jim Gerlach

16. “Once one accepts the premise of the Declaration of Independence – that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” – it follows that the governed must, in order to exercise their right of consent, have full freedom of expression.” – Thomas I. Emerson

17. “If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”- Terence McKenna

18. “I am the happiest person I’ve ever met. This is what Buddhist Yoga and a healthy dose of reading the Declaration of the Independence, The Constitution and the Federalist Papers and anything else I could get my hands on has given me.” – Frederick Lenz

19. “The two most important documents affecting the destiny of America are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Both these immortal papers relate primarily to the freedom of the individual.” – David O. McKay

Declaration of Independence Quotes To Inspire Revolution

20. “But human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.” – Howard Zinn

21. “There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound reasonable … in large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.”- P. J. O’Rourke

22. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

23. “If the American Revolution had produced nothing but the Declaration of Independence, it would have been worthwhile.”- Samuel Eliot Morison

24. “So few American novels have happy endings. Perhaps this is not surprising in a nation whose declaration of independence provides its citizens not with the right to happiness, but the right to its pursuit.” – Azar Nafisi

25. “I am in favor of carrying out the Declaration of Independence to women as well as men. Women having to suffer the burdens of society and government should have their equal rights in it. They do not receive their rights in full proportion.” – Leland Stanford

26. “Only the great generalizations survive. The sharp words of the Declaration of Independence, lampooned then and since as ‘glittering generalities,’ have turned out blazing ubiquities that will burn forever and ever.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

27. “It is hard to conceive of the utter demoralization, of the political blindness and immorality, of the patriotic dishonesty, of the cruelty and degradation of a people who supplemented the incomparable Declaration of Independence with the Fugitive Slave Law.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

28. “Our government leaders … have made many mistakes in the past when they have lost sight of the sacred American values rooted in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We are at the brink of even graver mistakes and assaults on these values.” Samuel Dash

29. “The United States is truly remarkable, a nation founded on a set of Enlightenment ideals so beautifully expressed by the Declaration of Independence and codified in the U.S. Constitution. We should feel good about our ideals, even when we don’t quite manage to live up to them.”- Jay Parini

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30. “The Declaration of Independence says when government fails, the people have the right to replace it. Well, New York State government has failed and the people have the right, indeed the people have the the people have the obligation, to act.”- Andrew Cuomo

31. “The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776.”- Abraham Lincoln

32. “I think the authors of that notable instrument [the Declaration of Independence] intended to include all men.”- Abraham Lincoln

33. “Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.” – Thomas Jefferson

34. “May the foundation of our new constitution, be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Like the wise Mans house may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms or tempests will overthrow it.” – Abigail Adams

35. “I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.” – Frederick Douglass

Declaration Of Independence quotes by Thomas Jefferson From The Document

36. “We hold these truths to be self–evident, that all men are created equal.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

37. “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” –Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

38. “Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

39. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

40. “In terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

41. “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

42. “It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

43. “That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

44. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

45. “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

46. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

47. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”-Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

48. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

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49. “To institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

50. “United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence quotes from the greatest break up letter 

51. “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” –Thomas Jefferson

52. “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” –Thomas Jefferson

53. “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America…solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” -Thomas Jefferson

54. “They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.” –Thomas Jefferson

55. “Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government…” –Thomas Jefferson

56. “He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.” –Thomas Jefferson

57. “…as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.” –Thomas Jefferson

58. “He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people” -Thomas Jefferson

59. “Without Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence, there would have been no American revolution that announced universal principles of liberty.” –Christopher Hitchens

60. “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature.” –G.K. Chesterton  

What did you learn from these Declaration Of Independence quotes?

While the writers of the Declaration of Independence aimed to radically change the trajectory of American history, the document also had residual effects across the globe.

In South America, Antonio Narino was inspired to set the tone for independence in Colombia. In Venezuela, Francisco de Miranda also was inspired to fight for Latin American independence from Spain.

Remember, England was one of the largest world powers at the time. The Declaration of Independence and the war for independence showed other countries that even the largest colonial forces could be bested.

In no way does this make the document perfect nor does it make it immune to poor interpretation or bad policy. For better or worse, the Declaration of Independence is a document that forever changed planet earth.

What is your favorite thing about the Declaration of Independence? Do you have any other favorite Declaration of Independence quotes and sayings? Let us know in the comments.

Clifton Sankofa
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