America Had More Than One Founding and More Than One Set of Founders
Read today, the Declaration of Independence is a freedom document. It stands for absolute human equality and represents the highest ideals of the American republic. On July 4, we celebrate it as much as we celebrate independence itself.
But as scholars like Garry Wills and Pauline Maier have made clear, this relative consensus on the meaning and significance of the Declaration is the product of political, ideological and social developments over time.
“During the first fifteen years following its adoption,” Maier writes in “American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence,”...