American Scripture

Pauline Maier, one of today's foremost authorities on the American Revolution, shows the 1776 Declaration of Independence as both the defining statement of national identity and the moral standard by which Americans live as a nation. It is truly American scripture and Maier tells us how this came to be - from the Declaration's birth in the hard, tortured struggle for independence from Britain to the ways in which the document itself is sanctified in the nineteenth century. Delving back into English history - from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the trial of Charles I in 1649 - Maier reveals the origins of key ideas and phrases. she unravels the complex story of its drafting and editing and shows what happened to it after the signing - its part in nineteenth-century political wars, and how Abraham Lincoln ensured its persistence as a living force in American society.