Engrossed Declaration of Independence

Description

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the American colonies set forth a list of grievances against the British Crown and declared that they were breaking from British rule to form free and independent states. On July 19, 1776, Congress resolved that the Declaration passed on the 4th be "fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile [sic]: 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America'...and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress." The engrossing was most likely done by Timothy Matlack, an assistant to Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress. Although it bears the date "July 4, 1776," the engrossed Declaration was signed on August 2, 1776, by members of the Continental Congress who were present that day and later, by other members of Congress. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed the document.

Last updated: February 15, 2012