(YA) In a ""Bibliographical Essay"" at the close of this well-written book the author states that ""temerity, blended with trepidation, is required to launch one more book on the Declaration of Independence."" The result of his temerity is a compact, carefully integrated study of the making of the Declaration: why it was necessary, how it was written, and its immediate and later results. Giving brief biographies of the two widely different men most responsible for the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the author tells how they worked together to convince other members of the Continental Congress of the need for American independence, and of Congressional debates on the subject. ""The Declaration could only have been written in 18th-century America, and by an American"" -- who was Jefferson. After writing various drafts, Jefferson presented the Declaration to Congress, and on July 4, 1776, it was signed by ""Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress Assembled."" Since then the Declaration, a far from perfect document, has been interpreted in many ways, and discussions as to its meaning -- or Jefferson's -- still continue. Concise and readable, this carefully documented study will appeal to students of American political thought, and will form an excellent supplementary reader for classes in the subject.