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Declaration of Independence
More than a year after the first fighting of the American Revolution broke out in Lexington and Concord, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, officially breaking America’s legal ties with England. Authored largely by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the Declaration of Independence remains one of the most stirring statements of the rights of human beings ever written and sets down the principle that government draws its authority from the consent of the people being governed. The image above depicts John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other members of the committee presenting the completed document to the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock.

Image: Library of Congress