Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting
in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence
Hall), approved the Declaration
of Independence, severing the colonies' ties to the British
Library of Congress Web Site | External
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Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.
The text of the Declaration
of Independence appears in the Journals
of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Additional references to the Declaration of Independence
can be found in the Journals of the
Continental Congress on the following dates in
7 - Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution urging
Congress to declare independence from Great Britain.
11 - Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin,
Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed
to a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
28 - A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration
of Independence was read in Congress.
1-4 - Congress debated and revised the Declaration
2 - Congress declared independence by adopting the
4 - Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
- July 4 - Congress ordered that the Declaration of Independence be printed (Dunlap Broadsides).
19 - Congress ordered the Declaration of Independence
engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
2 - The engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence
was signed by most of the delegates. Elbridge Gerry,
Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew
Thornton all signed on a later date.
A printed copy of the final version of the Declaration
of Independence is available in the United
States Statutes at Large and Elliot's
from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention,
This collection contains 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.
Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents.
this collection to find additional documents related to
the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution.
James Madison Papers, 1723-1836
James Madison (1751-1836) is one of 23 presidents whose papers are held in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000 items.
Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents.
- Continental Congress, June 7, 1776, Notes on Debates and Proceedings on Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation.
- Thomas Jefferson, June 1776, Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence.
- Thomas Jefferson, June 1776, Draft Fragment of Declaration of Independence.
- Thomas Jefferson, et al, July 4, 1776, Copy of Declaration of Independence.
Search this collection to find additional papers related to the
Declaration of Independence.
and Deeds in American History
In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
Amazing Americans: Thomas Jefferson - The Declaration of
Treasures of the Library of Congress - Declaration of Independence
This online exhibition contains Jefferson's rough draft
of the Declaration, with emendations by John Adams and
Benjamin Franklin. Also includes a fragment of an early
draft of the document, a letter to Roger Weightman with
Jefferson's reflections on the Declaration, Jefferson's
draft of the Virginia Constitution, and an excerpt from
Henry Home, Lord Kames' Essays on
the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion
regarding the pursuit of happiness.
the United States
This online exhibition offers insights into how the
nation’s founding documents were forged and the
role that imagination and vision played in the unprecedented
creative act of forming a self–governing country.
The exhibition includes a section on creating the Declaration
Independence: Drafting the Documents
This exhibition includes a timeline of events related
to the Declaration and a detailed essay on the drafting
of the documents. Also contains images of the Dunlap Broadside
and a number of prints portraying the debating and signing
of the Declaration of Independence.
The Provincial Congress of North Carolina authorized
its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for
The Declaration of Independence was enacted on July 4,
the Declaration of Independence
Robin Shields discusses the American Declaration of Independence,
focusing on its distribution through early American newspapers.
Fifteen newspapers containing the Declaration from the
Library of Congress' Serial and Government Publication
Division's American newspaper collection are profiled.
Shields highlights the importance of newspapers for the
success of the American Revolution and the influence newspaper
printers had on the independence movement.
of Freedom, Declaration of Independence, National Archives
and Records Administration
of Independence, USHistory.org
Documents, Declaration of Independence, National Archives
and Records Administration
David. The Declaration of Independence:
A Global History. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 2007. [Catalog
Boyd, Julian P. The Declaration of
Independence: The Evolution of the Text. Rev. ed.
Charlottesville: International Center for Jefferson Studies
at Monticello in association with the Library of Congress,
Dupont, Christian Y., and Peter S. Onuf, eds. Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding Document. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Library, 2008. [Catalog
Ferris, Robert G., ed. Signers of the Declaration: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: United States Department. of the Interior, National Park Service, 1975. [Catalog
Record] [Full Text]
Friedenwald, Herbert. The Declaration of Independence: An Interpretation and an Analysis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1904. [Catalog
Record] [Full Text]
Gerber, Scott Douglas, ed. The Declaration
of Independence: Origins and Impact. Washington,
D.C.: CQ Press, 2002. [Catalog
Maier, Pauline. American Scripture:
Making the Declaration of Independence. New York:
Knopf, 1997. [Catalog
Shain, Barry Alan, ed. The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context: American State Papers, Petitions, Proclamations, and Letters of the Delegates to the First National Congress. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. [Catalog
Fradin, Dennis B. The Signers: The
Fifty-Six Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence.
New York: Walker, 2002. [Catalog
Freedman, Russell. Give Me Liberty!:
The Story of the Declaration of Independence. New
York: Holiday House, 2000. [Catalog
Rod. The Declaration of Independence:
The Story Behind America’s
Founding Document and the Men Who Created It. Nashville,
Tenn.: Rutledge Hill Press, 2005. [Catalog
Graves, Kerry A. The Declaration of
Independence: The Story Behind America's Founding Document.
Philadelphia: Chelsea Clubhouse, 2004. [Catalog
Raum, Elizabeth. The Declaration of Independence. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2013. [Catalog
Rissman, Rebecca. The Declaration of Independence. Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing Company, 2013. [Catalog