Letter to Henry Lee (May 8, 1825)
In his 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson lays out the “object” of the Declaration, the origins of the “self-evident” principles it outlines, and the nature of its authority.
The “object of the Declaration of Independence,” he explains, was to “appeal to the tribunal of the world” with a justification of the decision “to resort to arms for redress” in response to “the acts of the British government contravening” the rights of Americans. This purpose is clear in the vast bulk of the Declaration that carefully lists these abuses and explains the means, short of war, Americans took to gain redress. Read more