The Declaration of Independence was based upon John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  The political theory and principals included in the Declaration of Independence form the foundations for the United States Constitution to carry out.

The Declaration of Independence is not a government document, but it is known as a “lawyers brief” of the grievances the colonists had against England.  The legal principals articulated in the document were intended to manifest themselves in the government of the United States once established.


A balance between governmental power and individual rights has been a hallmark of American political development.

Explain how democratic ideals are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.


The U.S. government is based on ideas of limited government, including natural rights, popular sovereignty, republicanism, and social contract.

The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson with help from Adams and Franklin, provides a foundation for popular sovereignty, while the U.S. Constitution drafted at the Philadelphia Convention and led by George Washington, with important contributions from Madison, Hamilton, and members of the “Grand Committee,” provides the blueprint for a unique form of political democracy in the U.S.