Unveiling the Declaration of Independence: From Debate to Ink

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Declaration’s Emblematic Engraving & Congress’ Gathering

The most famous well-known document in the U.S. was the Declaration of Independence is engraved with the famous known words “In Congress, July 4, 1776” at the top of the document. At the bottom, they have one of the most famous historical presidents of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, and the other founding fathers. In May of 1775, the Second Continental Congress was held in the Assembly Hall in Philadelphia. Weeks after hostilities have been breaking out, the British and colonial militias Lexington and a few more. In August of 1775, the king declared that the colonies should be open.

Road to Independence: Lee’s Resolution & Historic Vote

George Washington was in command of the continental army, which was formed by the Second Continental Congress. By the middle of 1776, the opinion expressed by the crowd in numerous colonies appeared to have turned in favor of independence from Great Britain. Richard Henry Lee, the founding father of Virginia, proposed to Congress a resolution on independence on the date of July 7, 1776. The first three actions in the resolution are: “Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.’

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On June 11, Congress put aside one of Lee’s votes on his resolution. It was appointed to a five-member committee to draft a public statement that would explain the reasons for declaring the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were on that committee, along with Robert R. Livingston as well with Roger Sherman. The Fifth member was Thomas Jefferson, which Thomas has been chosen to be the document’s principal drafter.

After changes had been made by Adams and Franklin, the committee submitted their draft of the Declaration to Congress on June 28. Congress has debated that the nine colonies should prepare to vote in favor of Lee’s resolution on Monday, July 1. The South Carolina and Pennsylvania delegates were eager to prevent the vote for Lee’s resolution. The two Delaware delegates were deadlocked, and the New York delegates were not able to vote. The king, however, has permitted their instructions only to pursue reconciliation. Overnight that has changed.

On July 2nd, Caesar Rodney rode from Denver to Philadelphia. Announcing a tie-breaking vote for Delaware in favor of the Declaration of Independence. South Carolina shifted their position in its favor, and the Pennsylvania opponents chose to stand back. Then the vote was called on July 2nd, and Lee’s resolution passed the vote from 12 to zero. After the historical decision had been made, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigal Adams. Predicting that the future Americans would celebrate their independence every second of July.

On that same day the New York harbor, British troops were under Admiral William Howe at Staten Island. The British troops were preparing for an imminent battle along with Washington’s forces. Congress then began to debate the Declaration, making substantial editorial revisions but leaving Jefferson’s opening paragraphs.

Declaration’s Document Journey: Approval to Signatures

On July 4th is when they finally approved the final draft of the Declaration. In the evening, the printer John Dunlap prepared a huge broadside with a complete text of “a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” There are around 200 copies of the Dunlap Broadside that were published on July 5th. Today in 2022, there are 26 that are still known to the world. At the bottom of the Dunlap broadside printed on the bottom, it states, “Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary.”

It was then read out loud right in front of the statehouse of Philadelphia on July 8th. Over the next few weeks, it was then in the newspaper. On July 9th, New York earlier returned their instructions to the delegates. Permitting them to join the other colonies from a formal break from Britain. A few days later, the news reached Philadelphia about the Declaration of Independence. On July 19th, Congress declared that the Declaration of Independence should be in larger printing.

This was Timothy Matlack’s job. On August 2, 1776, Congress signed their names on the Declaration of Independence inside the Pennsylvania State House. The first and the largest name on the Declaration was John Hancock, the president of Congress. The mood in the mood was not the best. All the people in the room thought they were undertaken.

Recalling August 2nd, Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Rush wrote of the “pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress” to sign “what was believed by many at that time to be our death warrants.” Not every man who was there at the signing of the Declaration of Independence was on it. Historians believe seven of the 56 signatures on the document were placed there later. Two delegates had passed their chances up for signing it, John Dickinson and Robert Livingston. The names of the signers were made public in January of 1777 when they were printed on another broadside edition of the Declaration published in Baltimore, Maryland.


  1. United States. (1776). Declaration of Independence. National Archives and Records Administration.
  2. Maier, P. (1997). American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. Vintage Books.
  3. Middlekauff, R. (2005). The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. Oxford University Press.
  4. Ellis, J. J. (2002). Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Vintage Books.
  5. Chernow, R. (2010). Washington: A Life. Penguin Books.
  6. Ferling, J. (2010). A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic. Oxford University Press.
  7. Becker, C. L. (1922). The Declaration of Independence: A Study on the History of Political Ideas. Harcourt, Brace, and Company.
  8. Ellis, J. J. (2008). American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic. Vintage Books.
  9. Gutzman, K. R. C. (2007). Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840. University Press of Virginia.

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Unveiling the Declaration of Independence: From Debate to Ink. (2023, Aug 15). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/unveiling-the-declaration-of-independence-from-debate-to-ink

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