Frank Donovan (Mr. Monroe's Message, Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation, Mr. Madison's Constitution, The George Washington Papers, etc.) does a creditable job of backstopping the Declaration of Independence. He recounts the action leading to the act: the increasing strictures and Tom Paine's Common Sense which stirred even previously convinced Tories to Whiggery and Whigs to see independence as a necessity. The Declaration was to secure European and home support. Mr. Donovan includes the exchange between Adams and Jefferson re the latter's taking on the job of writing the Declaration; briefly biographs the fifty-six signers; analyzes contents and sources (Jefferson: ""I turned to neither book nor pamphlet while writing it""...but there are shades of Locke, Hooker, Milton); reception public and critical; proclamation and present physical whereabouts. He refers throughout to such scholars as Dumas Malone, Carl Becker, Moses Coit Tyler for opinions, quotes. A competent supplementary volume.