It was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress. It announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire.
Implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed. John Locke played a big part in this.
The orders describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure and powers. John Fiske was the first to claim that the Fundamental Orders were the first written Constitution.