- from 1776
In the summer of 1776, delegates to the Second Continental Congress gave Thomas Jefferson the task of telling the world why the American colonies wanted to break free from Britain.
Not only did he do that, but he also set out what the new nation would stand for. His bold and beautiful words have echoed through the centuries, influencing nations on every continent to work for their own independence. The document gave courage to Americans at home. Both African Americans and women cited the ideas of liberty and equality as they fought to end slavery and gain equal rights for all Americans.