The Declaration at 250 Initiative

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, facsimile copy ordered in 1823 by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC00154.02)We are proud to announce the launch of the “Declaration at 250” initiative at the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

This multi-year project will bring together our archive of historic documents and our network of scholars to examine the importance of the Declaration of Independence and its impact on the modern world. Over the next five years, culminating in 2026, the Institute will continue to create and share digital and print materials to serve teachers, students, and the general public.

Highlights of the project include but are not limited to

  • Historic documents and publications that tell the story of how the Declaration inspired the birth of the civil rights movement among African Americans, including Lemuel Haynes’s 1776 essay, “Liberty Further Extended: Or Free Thoughts on the Illegality of Slave-Keeping
  • A selection of video clips presenting founding era documents and stories with Hamilton cast members and student performers
  • A newspaper printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, as well as other primary sources from the Gilder Lehrman Collection from the founding era
  • Lectures about the Declaration of Independence and the founding era from leading historians such as David Armitage, James Oliver Horton, Pauline Maier, and Gordon S. Wood
  • Tools for teachers, including lesson plans for elementary through high school students about the song “Yankee Doodle,” the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, and documents that define American democracy

These resources and programs will enable twenty-first-century students, teachers, and history lovers to understand the legacy of the Declaration of Independence and how it has shaped not only the United States, but the modern world.

We invite you to explore the full scope of our resources here, and check back often for new programs and offerings.