On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed the independence of the 13 British colonies in America. It marked the start of a political process that had begun as a protest against oppressive restrictions imposed by Britain on colonial trade, manufacturing, and political liberty and had developed into a revolutionary struggle which resulted in the establishment of a new nation.
The political philosophy advanced in the Declaration of Independence became a source of authority for the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. It has also influenced the philosophy behind the Declaration of of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted by the National Assembly of France in 1789. In the 19th century, peoples of Europe and Latin America fighting for freedom included in their programs the principles formulated in the Declaration of Independence.
Today, Independence Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the fourth of July, to commemorate that event which changed the course of history of the U.S. and of the world.
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely
to effect their Safety and Happiness,
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
Government long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes;
and accordingly all experience hath shewn,
that mankind are more disposed to suffer,
while evils are sufferable,
than to right themselves by abolishing
the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design
to reduce them under absolute Despotism,
it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,
and to provide new Guards for their future security.
(portion of the Preamble, Declaration of Independence)