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Viewed through a wider lens, declaring independence involved more than a single document and a single historical moment. Before July 1776, numerous local organizations had urged the Congress to embrace independence. And it was not just “Founding Fathers” but also a broader population whose actions gave the Declaration meaning. A broad-based Founding Generation—ordinary free men, women held subordinate by law, enslaved African Americans, and others—brought their own ideas of liberty to the Revolutionary moment. Later generations, too, would struggle over Revolutionary issues, some seeking to fulfill the Declaration’s proclaimed ideals and others promoting vested interests seeking to bypass popular consent. Given the many limits of the nation that the Revolution established, can the Declaration still be a source of commitment and identity for Americans today?

Explore these “Revolutionary Questions” ™ tm ; then prepare to vote in your upcoming Midterm elections! The “Founding Fathers” valued an informed electorate!

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