The Declaration of Independence is a statement defining the reasons why the thirteen American colonies declared independence from the British Empire. The Continental Congress voted on July 2 to declare independence and adopted the statement on July 4, 1776, about a year after the Revolutionary War began. Thomas Jefferson was the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration listed the colonial grievances against King George III and asserted certain natural rights – including the right of revolution. The Declaration was extremely important at the time it was signed but was initially ignored when the War for Independence was over. It grew in stature over the years, particularly for its statement of individual human rights: “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.”
After the text was finalized on July 4, the Declaration of Independence was issued in several forms. Many copies were printed, distributed and read to the public. The copy that is considered to be the Declaration of Independence is a signed copy on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The wording of the Declaration was approved on July 4, but the actual signing took place later – probably on August 2, 1776.
Abraham Lincoln considered the Declaration of Independence to be a statement of principles to be used when interpreting the United States Constitution.
Facts are from Wikipedia.org.