Why is the US Declaration of Independence so Unique?

Trevor Burrus,

Release Date
July 12, 2022


Education Liberty

As Nicolas Cage famously demonstrated, the Declaration of Independence has long been shrouded in mystery.

On the steps of the National Archives, home of the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, we spoke with Trevor Burrus of the Cato Institute. He touched on the history of the Declaration of Independence, including the REAL date John Adams believed would go down in history. Trevor also delved into the Declaration’s legal standing, some of its lesser-known signers, and of course the life and times of Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote it.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Trevor answers the question, “If we were to put out a list of grievances against the current federal government, just how long would it be?”



0:00 The Temple and the Fortress

0:31 The Document at the Heart of the American experiment

1:40 The Declaration’s Great Myth

3:24 Grievances against the King (and the President)

4:47 The Influence of John Locke

5:06 Thomas Jefferson and Slavery

6:53 A Long Train of Abuses

7:40 The Signers and the Great Risks They Took

11:04 Mistakes and Outtakes