The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of Human Events...


Chronology of Events

June 11, 1776
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
June 12-27, 1776
Jefferson, at the request of the committee, drafts a declaration, of which only a fragment exists. Jefferson's clean, or "fair" copy, the "original Rough draught," is reviewed by the committee. Both documents are in the manuscript collections of the Library of Congress.
June 28, 1776
A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration of Independence is read in Congress.
July 1-4, 1776
Congress debates and revises the Declaration of Independence.
July 2, 1776
Congress declares independence as the British fleet and army arrive at New York.
July 4, 1776
Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day. John Dunlap prints the Declaration of Independence. These prints are now called "Dunlap Broadsides." Twenty-four copies are known to exist, two of which are in the Library of Congress. One of these was Washington's personal copy.
July 5, 1776
John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatches the first of Dunlap's broadsides of the Declaration of Independence to the legislatures of New Jersey and Delaware.
July 6, 1776
Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6 prints the first newspaper rendition of the Declaration of Independence.
July 8, 1776
The first public reading of the Declaration is in Philadelphia.
July 9, 1776
Washington orders that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York
July 19, 1776
Congress orders the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
August 2, 1776
Delegates begin to sign engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. A large British reinforcement arrives at New York after being repelled at Charleston, S.C.
January 18, 1777
Congress, now sitting in Baltimore, Maryland, orders that signed copies of the Declaration of Independence printed by Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore be sent to the states.




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