Happy 4th! Who Signed What? When? – The Declaration of Independence
As happens a lot with history, there are some seemingly conflicting reports on how and when The Declaration of Independence was written and adopted. So lets run down the timeline as best we can to clear up some of the confusion.
The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. This date is widely celebrated as Independence Day in the United States. However, it is worth noting that the actual writing and signing took place over a period of several months, with some signatories affixing their signatures on different dates.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence spanned from August 2, 1776, to November 4, 1776. The majority of the signatures were affixed on August 2, but several signatories added their names in the following months. The final signer, Thomas McKean, signed the document on November 4, 1776.
The writing of the Declaration of Independence really began in June 1776. Thomas Jefferson, with the assistance of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston, was primarily responsible for drafting the document. After some revisions and debates within the Continental Congress, the final version of the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted on July 4, 1776.
This date is considered the birth of American independence, and it's why July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States.
While The Declaration of Independence was formally accepted and adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the draft of the declaration had been under discussion and revisions for several days leading up to that date.
Once the Congress approved the final wording and content, it was presented to the public on July 4th. Hence, July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States to commemorate the adoption and public announcement of the Declaration of Independence.