Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.


This document is the first printed version of the American Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution urging Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, to declare independence from Great Britain. Four days later, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee’s draft was read in Congress on June 28. On July 4, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, containing a list of grievances against the British crown. The document was printed and circulated throughout the colonies in the form of a broadside. Broadsides were large sheets of paper, usually printed on one side, that were popular in the 18th century as a means for the rapid distribution of important information. They were posted in town halls and coffee houses, read in churches and public meetings, and often reprinted or excerpted in local newspapers.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Printed by John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 sheet (1 page) ; 47 x 38 centimeters


  • Also known as the Dunlap Declaration of Independence.
  • Library of Congress copy is the second state. Inscribed on verso in ink: Independence.

Last updated: February 18, 2016