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.
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.
The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton;
Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery;
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott;
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris;
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart,
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton,
George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean;
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison,
Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton;
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton.
invite you to down load a digital copy of this declaration. (Click