Declaration of Independence Law and Legal Definition

The Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776. It created a nation by a purposeful act, upon a specific day. It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776. Its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

The Declaration of Independence is made up of five distinct parts: the introduction; the preamble; the body, which can be divided into two sections; and a conclusion. After listing grievances against the tyranny of the king of Great Britain, it declares that the United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, owing no duty of allegiance to the British crown. The result was the establishment of the free and independent government of the United States.