The most important and significant statement of American political theory is that made at the time when the United States asserted the right to an independent existence. The Declaration of Independence has been generally regarded as the corner-stone of the American political system, and the ideas of the “Fathers” of 1776 as a correct statement of the typical American political philosophy. These doctrines have undoubtedly exerted a profound influence in determining the course of American political thought. Even down to the present day, they are the standards by which must be measured all that is attempted in the world of politics. No study of American political ideas, or of American political institutions, would be complete without a careful analysis of the characteristic doctrines of 1776.