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Part 1: 1450-1750
<---Part 2: 1750-1805
Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

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Modern Voices
John Kaminski on the Declaration of Independence
Resource Bank Contents

Q: How was the Declaration a defining moment in the war?
John Kaminski

A: The Declaration of Independence was, in essence, a statement to the world that we are defining ourselves as a people, as a nation. And we were giving an explanation for that. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." This was a statement of principle that Americans were making to the world, and also making to themselves: something they could all rally around.

...With the Declaration of Independence, it became the King who was the villain, the King who had violated American rights. And these rights were listed in this indictment, one after another. The King had violated all of these American rights. There was no opportunity that these grievances would be acted upon and the rights restored to Americans. Therefore we had to declare our independence.
John P. Kaminski
Professor of History
University of Wisconsin Madison




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