The Declaration of Independence is the cornerstone of American exceptionalism. The Declaration established our nation on the bedrock of universal principles. Yet even more important and far more remarkable, its primary author described it as “common sense” and “an expression of the American mind.” The Declaration was not merely the sentiments of a philosophic elite handed down to instruct the masses. It was, rather, a summing up of the beliefs of all American patriots.

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We Still Hold These Truths

By knowing and believing in ten core principles that define us as a nation and inspire us as a people—liberty and equality, natural rights and the consent of the governed, private property and religious freedom, the rule of law and constitutionalism, all culminating in self-government at home and independence in the world.

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The Heritage Foundation’s American Founding Q&A

Basic Q&As to get a handle on the American Founding from the Heritage Foundation.

View Q&A at heritage.org