The Declaration of Independence and
the Constitution of the United States of America

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America's founding documents, the Cato Institute has produced this website and published two popular print editions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

As amended over the years, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the nation's fundamental law. But the broad language of the Constitution is illuminated by the principles set forth in the Declaration. Indeed, for more than two centuries the ringing phrases of the Declaration have inspired countless millions around the world. When it came time to draft a new constitution, the Founders drew upon the principles they had outlined in the Declaration.

The Declaration and the Constitution, together, address mankind's most basic political questions. Resting on a firm moral foundation, they articulate the first principles of political organization. Thus, they were meant to serve not merely the 18th century but generations to come, which would face those same basic questions, whatever their particular circumstances, whatever their state of material progress. Because the principles the Founders articulated transcend both time and technology, they will serve us well as we move through the 21st century, if only we understand them correctly and apply them well.