FACTOID # 25: If you're tired of sitting in traffic on your way to work, move to North Dakota.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Declaration of Independence (United States)
U.S. Declaration of Independence
U.S. Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. This anniversary is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States. The handwritten copy signed by the delegates to the Congress is on display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1961x2328, 1116 KB) Summary High resolution ehanced image of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1961x2328, 1116 KB) Summary High resolution ehanced image of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... Betsy Ross purportedly sewed the first American flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes representing each of the 13 colonies. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right)1 Capital London Head of State King of Great Britain Head of Government Prime Minister Parliament House of Commons, House of Lords This article is about the historical state called the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707-1800). ... The Continental Congress is the label given to three successive bodies of representatives: The First Continental Congress met from September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774. ... July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ... In the United States, Independence Day, also called the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... Nickname: the District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Official website: http://www. ...

Contents


History

Background

Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration.
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration.

Throughout the 1760s and 1770s, relations between Great Britain and thirteen of her North American colonies had become increasingly strained. Fighting broke out in 1775 at Lexington and Concord marking the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Although there was little initial sentiment for outright independence, the pamphlet Common Sense by Thomas Paine was able to promote the belief that total independence was the only possible route for the colonies. Image File history File links from public educational institution website File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links from public educational institution website File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... Events and Trends King George III ascends the British throne in 1760. ... Events and Trends For more events, see 18th century United States Declaration of Independence ratified by the Continental Congress (July 4, 1776). ... 1775 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War and was described as the shot heard round the world in Emersons Concord Hymn. ... Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, Netherlands, Spain, allies British Empire, allies Commanders George Washington Comte de Rochambeau Nathanael Greene William Howe Henry Clinton Charles Cornwallis Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties {{{casualties1}}} {{{casualties2}}} {{{notes}}} The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was the military component of... Look up Common sense in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For the American independence advocacy pamphlet by Thomas Paine, see Common Sense (pamphlet) For the American hip-hop artist, see Common One meaning of the term common sense (or as an adjective, commonsense) on a strict construction of the term, is... Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809), intellectual, scholar, revolutionary, and idealist, is widely recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


Independence was adopted on July 2, 1776, pursuant to the "Lee Resolution" presented to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, which read (in part): "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." July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ... The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... The Continental Congress is the label given to three successive bodies of representatives: The First Continental Congress met from September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774. ... Richard Henry Lee Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ...


Draft and Adoption

On June 11, 1776, a committee consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, was formed to draft a suitable declaration to frame this resolution. Jefferson did most of the writing, with input from the committee. His draft was presented to the Continental Congress on July 1, 1776. June 11 is the 162nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (163rd in leap years), with 203 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ... John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. ... Official language(s) English Capital Boston Largest city Boston Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 44th 10,555 mi²; 27,360 km² 183 mi; 295 km 113 mi; 182 km 13. ... Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 33rd 119,283 km² 255 km 455 km 2. ... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... Robert R. Livingston (November 27, 1746 – February 26, 1813), of New York, was a delegate to the New York state constitutional convention and a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, although he was recalled by his state before he could sign it. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... Roger Sherman Roger Sherman (April 19 (O.S.), April 30 (N.S.), 1721 – July 23, 1793), was the only person to have signed all four basic documents of American sovereignty: the Continental Association of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. ... Official language(s) English Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 48th 14,371 km² 113 km 177 km 12. ... July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ...

Fragment of an early draft of the Declaration
Fragment of an early draft of the Declaration

The full Declaration was rewritten somewhat in general session prior to its adoption by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House. This version was only signed by the President of the Congress John Hancock and the Secretary Charles Thomson. A famous signing ceremony, often attributed to July 4, actually took place on August 2. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ... The belltower atop Independence Hall, formerly home to the Liberty Bell. ... July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ... August 2 is the 214th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (215th in leap years), with 151 days remaining. ...


Distribution

After its adoption by Congress on July 4, a copy was then sent a few blocks away to the printing shop of John Dunlap. Through the night between 150 and 200 copies were made, now known as "Dunlap broadsides". One was sent to George Washington on July 6, who had it read to his troops in New York on July 9. The 25 Dunlap broadsides still known to exist are the oldest surviving copies of the document. July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ... DUNLAP, John, printer, born in Strabane, Ireland, in 1747; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 November, 1812. ... A Dunlap broadside is one of 25 original printings of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the successful Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783, and later became the first President of the United States, an office to which he was elected, unanimously, twice and remained in from... July 6 is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 178 days remaining. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... July 9 is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 175 days remaining. ...


On January 18, 1777, the Continental Congress ordered that the declaration be more widely distributed. The second printing was made by Mary Katharine Goddard. The first printing had included only the names John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Goddard's printing was the first to list all signatories. January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1777 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Mary Katherine Goddard (June 16, 1738-1816) was an early American publisher and the first American postmistress. ... Portrait of Hancock (full portrait) Hancocks signature on the United States Declaration of Independence John Hancock (January 12, 1737 (O.S.) – October 8, 1793 (N.S.)) was President of the Second Continental Congress and of the Congress of the Confederation; first Governor of Massachusetts; and the first person to... For the Stuckist artist, see Charles Thomson (artist). ...


Word of the declaration reached London on August 10. August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Signatures

John Trumbull's famous painting is usually incorrectly identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration. What the painting actually depicts is the five-man drafting committee presenting their work to the Congress. Trumbull's painting can also be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill. [1]
John Trumbull's famous painting is usually incorrectly identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration. What the painting actually depicts is the five-man drafting committee presenting their work to the Congress. Trumbull's painting can also be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill. [1]

On July 19, 1776, Congress ordered a copy be handwritten for the delegates to sign. This copy of the Declaration was produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress. Most of the delegates signed it on August 2, 1776, in geographic order of their colonies from north to south, though some delegates were not present and had to sign later. Two delegates never signed at all. As new delegates joined the congress, they were also allowed to sign. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed. This is the copy on display at the National Archives. The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... John Trumbull, 1756–1843 John Trumbull (June 6, 1756–November 10, 1843), was a famous American artist from the time of the American Revolutionary War. ... The U.S. two dollar bill ($2) is a denomination of U.S. currency. ... July 19 is the 200th day (201st in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 165 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ... Timothy Matlack (1730–April 14, 1829) was an American merchant and statesman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... August 2 is the 214th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (215th in leap years), with 151 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 1776. ...


The first and most famous signature on the Declaration was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26), was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows: Portrait of Hancock (full portrait) Hancocks signature on the United States Declaration of Independence John Hancock (January 12, 1737 (O.S.) – October 8, 1793 (N.S.)) was President of the Second Continental Congress and of the Congress of the Confederation; first Governor of Massachusetts; and the first person to... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. ... Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749–January 23, 1800), South Carolina statesman, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of South Carolina. ... Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. ...

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton;
Massachusetts
Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry;
Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery;
Connecticut
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott;
New York
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris;
New Jersey
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark;
Pennsylvania
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross;
Delaware
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean;
Maryland
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
Virginia
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton;
North Carolina
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
South Carolina
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton;
Georgia
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton.

Official language(s) English Capital Concord Largest city Manchester Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 46th 24,239 km² 110 km 305 km 3. ... Portrait of Josiah Bartlett Josiah Bartlett (November 21, 1729–May 19, 1795), was an American physician and statesman who, as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire, signed the Declaration of Independence. ... William Whipple, Jr. ... Matthew Thornton (1714–June 24, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire. ... Official language(s) English Capital Boston Largest city Boston Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 44th 10,555 mi²; 27,360 km² 183 mi; 295 km 113 mi; 182 km 13. ... Samuel Adams (September 27, 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American Patriot and organizer of the Boston Tea Party. ... John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. ... Portrait of Hancock (full portrait) Hancocks signature on the United States Declaration of Independence John Hancock (January 12, 1737 (O.S.) – October 8, 1793 (N.S.)) was President of the Second Continental Congress and of the Congress of the Confederation; first Governor of Massachusetts; and the first person to... Robert Treat Paine; Signer of the Declaration of Independence For others with the same name, see Robert Treat Paine (disambiguation). ... Elbridge Gerry Elbridge Gerry (July 17, 1744 – November 23, 1814) was an American politician, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. ... This article is the current U.S. Collaboration of the Week. ... This article is about the 18th century American politician; see Stephen Hopkins for other men who bore that name. ... William Ellery (December 22, 1727–February 15, 1820), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Rhode Island. ... Official language(s) English Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 48th 14,371 km² 113 km 177 km 12. ... Roger Sherman Roger Sherman (April 19 (O.S.), April 30 (N.S.), 1721 – July 23, 1793), was the only person to have signed all four basic documents of American sovereignty: the Continental Association of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. ... Samuel Huntington (July 16, 1731–January 5, 1796) was an American jurist, statesman, and revolutionary leader from Connecticut. ... William Williams (April 28, 1731– August 2, 1811) was an American merchant and political leader from Lebanon, Connecticut. ... Oliver Wolcott (December 1, 1726–December 1, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Connecticut. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... William Floyd (December 17, 1734–August 4, 1821), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York. ... Philip Livingston (January 15, 1716 – June 12, 1778), was an American merchant and statesman from New York City. ... Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713–December 30, 1803), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York. ... Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726– January 22, 1798) was an American landowner and developer from Morrisania, New York. ... Official language(s) None defined, English de facto Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 47th 22,608 km² 110 km 240 km 14. ... Richard Stockton (NSHC statue) Richard Stockton (October 1, 1730 – February 28, 1781) was an illustrious lawyer, jurist, legislator, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. ... John Witherspoon Statue, Princeton Dr John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. ... Francis Hopkinson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... For other people named John Hart, see John Hart (disambiguation). ... Abraham Clark (February 15, 1725—September 15, 1794) was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 33rd 119,283 km² 255 km 455 km 2. ... Robert Morris, Jr. ... Dr. Benjamin Rush painted by Charles Wilson Peale, 1783 Dr. Benjamin Rush (December 24, 1745–April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States. ... Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. ... John Morton (1724-1777), from Chester, Pennsylvania, was the delegate who cast the deciding vote in favor of the United States Declaration of Independence. ... George Clymer (March 16, 1739–January 23, 1813) was an American politician and Founding Father. ... James Smith (about 1719–July 11, 1806), was a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. ... George Taylor (about 1716–February 23, 1781), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. ... James Wilson (September 14, 1742–August 21, 1798), a complex and contradictory man, has been largely lost to history. ... Ross was born in 1730 at New Castle, Del. ... Official language(s) None Capital Dover Largest city Wilmington Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 49th 6,452 km² 48 km 161 km 21. ... Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 – June 26, 1784), was an American lawyer and politician from Jones Neck, in St. ... George Read, Sr. ... Thomas McKean Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734–June 24, 1817) was the second President of the United States in Congress assembled, from July 10, 1781, until November 4, 1781. ... Official language(s) None Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 42nd 32,160 km² 145 km 400 km 21 37°53N to 39°43N 75°4W to 79°33W Population  - Total (2000)  - Density Ranked 19th 5,296,486 165... Samuel Chase painting by John Beale Bordley (1836). ... William Paca William Paca (October 30, 1740–October 23, 1799), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Maryland. ... Thomas Stone (1743–October 5, 1787) was an American planter who signed United States Declaration of Independence as a delegate for Maryland. ... Charles Carroll Charles Carroll of Carrollton (September 19, 1737–November 14, 1832) was a lawyer and politician from Maryland who was a delegate to the Continental Congress and later a United States Senator. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... George Wythe George Wythe (1726–June 8, 1806), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Virginia and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. ... Richard Henry Lee Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785. ... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... Benjamin Harrison V Benjamin Harrison (V) (April 5, 1726 – April 24, 1791) was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. ... Thomas Nelson, Jr. ... Francis Lightfoot Lee (October 14, 1734–January 11, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Virginia. ... Carter Braxton (September 16, 1736–October 10, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and a representative of Virginia. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 28th 139,509 km² 805 km 240 km 9. ... William Hooper (June 28, 1742–October 14, 1790), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of North Carolina. ... Joseph Hewes (January 23, 1730–November 10, 1779), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of North Carolina. ... John Penn (May 17, 1741–September 14, 1788), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of North Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 40th 82,965 km² 320 km 420 km 6 32°430N to 35°12N 78°030W to 83°20W Population  - Total (2000)  - Density Ranked 26th 4,012... Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749–January 23, 1800), South Carolina statesman, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of South Carolina. ... Thomas Heyward, Jr. ... Other notable people share this name. ... Arthur Middleton (June 26, 1742–January 1, 1787), of Charleston, South Carolina, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. ... Button Gwinnett (1735 – May 19, 1777), was one of the signatories (first signature on the left)of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. ... Lyman Hall (April 12, 1724–October 19, 1790), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. ... George Walton (1741–February 2, 1804) signed the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. ...

Annotated text of the Declaration

The original signed Declaration is now at the National Archives.
The original signed Declaration is now at the National Archives.

The text of the Declaration of Independence can be divided into five sections: the introduction, the preamble, the indictment of George III, the denunciation of the British people, and the conclusion. (Note that these five headings are not part of the text of the document.) Image File history File links U.S. Declaration of Independence. ... Image File history File links U.S. Declaration of Independence. ... The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... Look up Preamble in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The preamble is an introductory statement, a preliminary explanation. ... George III (George William Frederick) (4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain, and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. ... A conclusion can have various specific meanings depending on the context. ...


Introduction

In CONGRESS, July 4 1776


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Natural law is law that exists independently of the positive law of a given political order, society or nation-state. ... Natures God is identified in the United States Declaration of Independence to be the Creator of the Laws of Nature. ...


Preamble

  • The preamble is presented as a logical demonstration, with one proposition leading to another proposition. From the first proposition (that all men are created equal), a chain of logic is produced that leads to the right and responsibility of revolution when a government becomes destructive of the people's rights.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... Proposition is a term used in logic to describe the content of assertions. ... The phrase All men are created equal is arguably the best-known phrase in any of Americas political documents, since the idea it expresses is generally considered the foundation of American democracy. ... The creator god is the divine being that created the universe, according to various traditions and faiths. ... The term inalienable rights (or unalienable rights) refers to a set of human rights that are absolute, not awarded by human power, not transferable to another power, and incapable of repudiation. ... Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is one of the most famous phrases in the United States Declaration of Independence. ...


That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed. In some theories of government, all people are considered equal: in their right to govern themselves, and in their contributions to the rules of their society. ...


That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. The right to revolution, in political philosophy, is a right articulated by John Locke in Two Treatises of Government as part of his social contract theory. ...


Prudence indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. It has been suggested that Revolutionary be merged into this article or section. ...


Indictment

The Declaration proclaims George III to be a "Tyrant...unfitt to be the Ruler of a free People."
Enlarge
The Declaration proclaims George III to be a "Tyrant...unfitt to be the Ruler of a free People."

Such has been the patient Sufferance so these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the Present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to a candid World. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (800x1108, 130 KB)George III by Allan Ramsay, 1762. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (800x1108, 130 KB)George III by Allan Ramsay, 1762. ... George III (George William Frederick) (4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain, and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. ...

  • The signers then list 27 grievances against the British Crown. The grievances are directed personally at the King (as in "He has refused his Assent to Laws..."), although many of them refer to actions taken by the British Parliament or the Royal Governors. Many of the grievances are examples of violations of fundamental English law, such as "imposing taxes on us without our Consent", and "depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury". Many historians maintain that some of the grievances are exaggerated propaganda (such as the "Swarms of Officers" in truth referring to about fifty men ordered to prevent smuggling).

In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People. The British monarch or Sovereign is the monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, and is the source of all executive, judicial and (as the Queen_in_Parliament) legislative power. ... The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... Blackstones history In the 1760s William Blackstone described the Fundamental Laws of England in Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book the First - Chapter the First : Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals [1] as the absolute rights of every Englishman and traced their basis and evolution as follows: Magna... No taxation without representation was a rallying cry for advocates of American independence from Great Britain in the eighteenth century. ... A jury trial is a trial in which the judge of the facts, as opposed to the judge of the law, is a jury, made up of citizens who are usually randomly selected and are generally not legal professionals. ... A grievance is a formal statement of complaint, generally against an authoritive figure. ... North Korean propaganda showing a soldier destroying the United States Capitol building. ...


Denunciation

Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.


Conclusion

The Declaration of Independence was signed with the Syng inkstand, which is on display at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
The Declaration of Independence was signed with the Syng inkstand, which is on display at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
  • The signers assert that (since conditions exist under which people must change their government, and the British have produced such conditions) the colonies must necessarily throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, 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; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Download high resolution version (2338x1798, 2926 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: United States Constitution Declaration of Independence (United States) Independence Hall Categories: U.S. history images ... Download high resolution version (2338x1798, 2926 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: United States Constitution Declaration of Independence (United States) Independence Hall Categories: U.S. history images ... The Syng inkstand was the inkstand used to sign the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. ... The belltower atop Independence Hall, formerly home to the Liberty Bell. ... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ... The Lee Resolution, or sometimes Lees Resolution, was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776. ... July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... The only atomic weapons ever used in war - the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945, effectively ending World War II. The bombs over Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki immediately killed over 120,000 people. ... The concept of peace ranks among the most controversial in our time. ... An alliance can be: an agreement between two parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests. ... Commerce is the trading of something of value between two entities. ... Divine Providence, or simply Providence, is a theological term which refers to the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in peoples lives and throughout history. ... Look up live in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Fortune or fortune can refer to: Luck Wealth Fortune magazine The fortune Unix/Linux command, which prints a random quote Fortune (Metal Gear), a character from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. ... Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ...


Differences between draft and final versions

Thomas Jefferson's original draft included a denunciation of the slave trade ("He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither."), which was later edited out, as was a lengthy criticism of the British people and parliament. Also, Jefferson's draft used the phrase "inherent and inalienable rights," which was changed to "certain unalienable rights." Jefferson created a collation of his draft and the final version in his autobiography, which quotes both as using the word "inalienable" rather than "unalienable." Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founders of the United States. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... In textual criticism and bibliography, collation is the reading of two (or more) texts side-by-side in order to note their differences. ...


Analysis

National Bureau of Standards preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951
National Bureau of Standards preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951

NBS preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951 This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... NBS preserving the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1951 This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... As a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. ...

Historical Influences

The United States Declaration of Independence was influenced by the 1581 Dutch Republic declaration of independence, called the Oath of Abjuration. The Kingdom of Scotland's 1320 Declaration of Arbroath was undoubtedly also an influence as the first known formal declaration of independence. Jefferson is also thought to have drawn on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which had been adopted in June 1776. Events January 16 - English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism April 4 - Francis Drake completes a circumnavigation of the world and is knighted by Elizabeth I. July 26 - The Northern Netherlands proclaim their independence from Spain in the Oath of Abjuration. ... This article is about the Dutch United Provinces. ... The Oath of Abjuration or Plakkaat van Verlatinghe of July 26, 1581, was the formal declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II. This point meant a climax in the Dutch Revolt, a point of no return, in which the Low Countries asserted they... Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one provokes me with impunity) Capital Edinburgh Government Monarchy Head of State King of Scots Parliament Parliament of Scotland Currency Pound Scots This article is about the historical state called the Kingdom of Scotland (843-1707). ... Events January 20 - Dante - Quaestio de Aqua et Terra January 20 - Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek becomes king of Poland April 6 - The Scots reaffirm their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath. ... The Declaration of Arbroath was a declaration of Scottish independence, and set out to confirm Scotlands status as an independent, sovereign state and its use of military action when unjustly attacked. ... The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a declaration by the Virginia Convention of Delegates of rights of individuals and a call for independence from Britain. ...


Philosophical background

The Preamble of the Declaration is influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, including the concepts of natural law, self-determination, and Deism. Ideas and even some of the phrasing was taken directly from the writings of English philosopher John Locke, particularly his Second Treatise on Government, titled "Essay Concerning the true original, extent, and end of Civil Government." In this treatise, Locke espoused the idea of government by consent. Locke wrote that human beings had certain natural rights. Other influences included the Discourses of Algernon Sydney, and the writings of Wawrzyniec Grzymala Goslicki and Thomas Paine. According to Jefferson, the purpose of the Declaration was "not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of . . . but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take." The Age of Enlightenment refers to the 18th century in European philosophy, and is often thought of as part of a larger period which includes the Age of Reason. ... Natural law is law that exists independently of the positive law of a given political order, society or nation-state. ... Self-determination is a principle in international law that a people ought to be able to determine their own governmental forms and structure free from outside influence. ... Historical and modern Deism is defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. ... Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location within the British Isles Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population – Total (mid-2004) – Total (2001 Census) – Density Ranked 1st UK... John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) was an influential English philosopher and social contract theorist. ... The Two Treatises of Government (or Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, And His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. ... Natural rights are rights derived from natural law. ... Algernon Sydney (or Sidney), (January 1623 – December 7, 1683), was an English politician, an opponent of King Charles II of England. ... Wawrzyniec Grzymala Goslicki, Laurentius Grimaldius Gosliscius, 1530-1607, was Polish political thinker and philosopher most known from the book De optimo senatore, 1568 (The Accomplished senator, English translation 1598). ... Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809), intellectual, scholar, revolutionary, and idealist, is widely recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Look up Common sense in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For the American independence advocacy pamphlet by Thomas Paine, see Common Sense (pamphlet) For the American hip-hop artist, see Common One meaning of the term common sense (or as an adjective, commonsense) on a strict construction of the term, is...


Practical effects

Some historians believe that the Declaration was used as a propaganda tool, in which the Americans tried to establish clear reasons for their rebellion that might persuade reluctant colonists to join them and establish their just cause to foreign governments that might lend them aid. The Declaration also served to unite the members of the Continental Congress. Most were aware that they were signing what would be their death warrant in case the Revolution failed, and the Declaration served to make anything short of victory in the Revolution unthinkable. North Korean propaganda showing a soldier destroying the United States Capitol building. ...


Influence on other documents

The Declaration of Independence contains many of the founding fathers' fundamental principles, some of which were later codified in the United States Constitution. It was the model for the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention Declaration of Sentiments. It has also been used as the model of a number of later documents such as the declarations of independence of Vietnam and Rhodesia. In the United States, the Declaration has been frequently quoted in political speeches, such as Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... 1848 is a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Seneca Falls refers to a town and a village in Seneca County, New York: Seneca Falls (town) Seneca Falls (village) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men, delegates to the first womens rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known to historians as the 1848 Womens Rights Convention. ... National motto: Sit Nomine Digna (Latin: May she be worthy of the name} Official language English Capital Salisbury Political system Parliamentary system Form of government Republic - Last President John Wrathall - Prime Minister Ian Smith Area  - Total  - % water 390 580 km² 1% Population  - 1978 est. ... Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), sometimes called Abe Lincoln and nicknamed Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, was the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ... The only known photo of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg (seated, center), taken about noon, just after Lincoln arrived and some three hours before he spoke. ... Martin Luther King, Jr. ... Martin Luther King, Jr. ...


Popular culture

A fictionalized (but somewhat historically accurate) version of how the Declaration came about is the musical play (and 1972 movie) 1776, which is usually termed a "musical comedy" but deals frankly with the political issues, especially how disagreement over the institution of slavery almost defeated the Declaration's adoption. 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year that started on a Tuesday. ... 1776 is the title of a 1969 Broadway musical and its 1972 film version. ...


The Declaration of Independence is also the central subject of the 2004 film National Treasure, starring Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger. In the film, a hidden treasure map on the back of the Declaration leads treasure hunters to a cache of wealth hidden from the British by Freemasons during the Revolutionary War. This is for the movie. ... Nicolas Cage on the cover of the March 1997 edition of GQ magazine. ... Diane Kruger on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine Diane Kruger (born July 15, 1976 near Hildesheim, Germany) is a German model and actress. ... The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ...


Myths

Several myths surround the document:

  • Because it is dated July 4, 1776, many people believe it was signed on that date - it was signed August 2 by most of the delegates.
  • An unfounded legend states that John Hancock signed his name so large that King George III would be able to read it without his spectacles. [2].
  • The famous painting by John Trumbull, which hangs in the grand Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States, is (as mentioned in the caption above) usually incorrectly described as the signing of the Declaration, when what it actually shows is the five-man drafting committee presenting their work. Trumbull depicts most of the eventual signers as being present on this occasion, but this gathering never took place.
  • The Liberty Bell was not rung to celebrate independence, but to call the local inhabitants to hear the reading of the document on July 8, and it certainly did not acquire its crack on so doing; that story comes from a children's book of fiction, Legends of the American Revolution, by George Lippard. The Liberty Bell was actually named in the early nineteenth century when it became a symbol of the anti-slavery movement.

Portrait of Hancock (full portrait) Hancocks signature on the United States Declaration of Independence John Hancock (January 12, 1737 (O.S.) – October 8, 1793 (N.S.)) was President of the Second Continental Congress and of the Congress of the Confederation; first Governor of Massachusetts; and the first person to... George III (George William Frederick) (4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain, and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. ... John Trumbull, 1756–1843 John Trumbull (June 6, 1756–November 10, 1843), was a famous American artist from the time of the American Revolutionary War. ... The Liberty Bell, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an American bell of great historic significance. ... This poster depicting the horrific conditions on slave ships was influential in mobilizing public opinion against slavery in the United Kingdom and the United States. ...

References

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikisource – The Free Library – is a Wikimedia project to build a free, wiki library of primary source texts, along with translations of source-texts into any language and other supporting materials. ... Duke Chapel Duke University is a private, coeducational, research university located in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Although founded in 1924, Duke traces its roots back to 1838. ...

See also

Founding Documents
of the United States
Declaration of Independence (1776)
Articles of Confederation (1777)
Constitution (1787)
Bill of Rights (1789)

Image File history File links Made from Constitution and US Flag pictures on Wikipedia. ... The Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, formed the first governing document of the United States of America. ... United States Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. ... A declaration of independence is a proclamation of the independence of an aspiring state or states. ... The United States is primarily situated in central North America, a large and diverse expanse of land and people. ...

External links

Official website
Additional information
Maps, photos, and other media
The Signers

  Results from FactBites:
 
Declaration of Independence (United States) - ninemsn Encarta (1720 words)
Declaration of Independence (United States), in United States history, a document proclaiming the independence of the 13 British colonies in America, adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
The declaration recounted the grievances of the colonies against the British Crown and declared the colonies to be free and independent states.
Its influence is manifest in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted by the National Assembly of France in 1789, during the French Revolution.
United States Declaration of Independence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3317 words)
The Declaration of Independence was signed with the Syng inkstand, which is on display at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
The United States Declaration of Independence was influenced by the 1581 Dutch Republic declaration of independence, called the Oath of Abjuration.
Free audiobook of The Declaration of Independence from LibriVox
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m