when was declaration of independence adopted

when was declaration of independence adopted

when was declaration of independence adopted

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The Declaration of Independence is officially signed

August 2, 1776, is one of the most important but least celebrated days in American history when 56 members of the Second Continental Congress started signing the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

Officially, the Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, when it approved a resolution in a unanimous vote.

After voting on independence on July 2, the group needed to draft a document explaining the move to the public. It had been proposed in draft form by the Committee of Five (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson) and it took two days for the Congress to agree on the edits. Thomas Jefferson was the main author.

Once the Congress approved the actual Declaration of Independence document on July 4.

it was sent to a printer named John Dunlap. About 200 copies of the Dunlap Broadside were printed, with John Hancock’s name printed at the bottom.

Today, 26 copies remain. Then on July 8, 1776, Colonel John Nixon of Philadelphia read a printed Declaration of Independence

to the public for the first time on what is now called Independence Square.

when was declaration of independence adopted
when was declaration of independence adopted

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams reviewed Jefferson’s draft.

They preserved its original form, but struck passages likely to meet with controversy or skepticism.

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most notably passages blaming King George III for the transatlantic slave trade

and those blaming the British people rather than their government.

The committee presented the final draft before Congress on June 28, 1776,

and Congress adopted the final text of the Declaration of Independence on July 4.

The British Government did its best to dismiss the Declaration as a trivial document issued by disgruntled colonists.

British officials commissioned propagandists to highlight the declaration’s flaws and to rebut the colonists’ complaints.

The Declaration divided British domestic opposition, as some American sympathizers thought the Declaration had gone too far,

but in British-ruled Ireland it had many supporters.

The Declaration’s most important diplomatic effect was to allow for recognition of the United States by friendly foreign governments.

The Sultan of Morocco mentioned American ships in a consular document in 1777,

but Congress had to wait until the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France for a formal recognition of U.S. independence.

The Netherlands acknowledged U.S. independence in 1782.

Although Spain joined the war against Great Britain in 1779, it did not recognize U.S. independence until the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

Under the terms of the treaty, which ended the War of the American Revolution,

Great Britain officially acknowledged the United States as a sovereign and independent nation.

when was declaration of independence adopted
when was declaration of independence adopted

In March 1776, North Carolina’s revolutionary convention became the first to vote in favor of independence; seven other colonies had followed suit by mid-May. On June 7, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence before the Continental Congress when it met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution and called a recess for several weeks. Before departing, however, the delegates also appointed a five-man committee–including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York–to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. That document would become known as the Declaration of Independence.

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The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson. On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place. First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence.

when was declaration of independence adopted
when was declaration of independence adopted

Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand. Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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