In just 1,337 words, the Declaration of Independence changed the world, but curiously it is now rarely read from start to finish, much less understood. Unsettled by this, Danielle Allen read the text quietly with students and discovered it animating power. " Bringing the analytical skills of a philosopher, the voice of a gifted memoirist, and the spirit of a soulful humanist to the task, Allen manages to ... find new meaning in Thomas Jefferson' s understanding of equality," says Joseph J. Ellis about OUR DECLARATION. Countering much of the popular perception, she restores equality to its rightful place, detailing the Declaration' s case that freedom rests on equality. The contradictions between ideals and reality in a document that perpetuated slavery are also brilliantly tackled by Allen, whose cogently written book " is a must-read for all who care about the future as well as the origins of America' s democracy" (David M. Kennedy).