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Declaration of Independence, USA

Declaration of US Independence
The first lines of the Declaration of Independence's preamble are some of the best known sentences in the English-speaking world. Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, later explained that though his wording was original, the ideas presented in the document were beliefs held by many colonists at that time.

Several printings of the Declaration of Independence were made after the decision was announced. The first of these printings, called the Dunlap Broadside, ran without any signatures. The names of those who signed the Declaration were withheld from the public for six months, because if the colonies had failed to achieve independence, they would be sentenced to death for their acts of treason. On January 18, 1777, Congress ordered that a copy of the Declaration of Independence with signatories listed be sent to each state. This version was called the Goddard Broadside.

Signatures
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 delegates from the original 13 colonies.

The President of Congress at the time, John Hancock of Massachusetts, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, and his large, embellished signature has made his name synonymous with the word "signature."

The Declaration of Independence was signed by the following people:

President of Congress:
John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Delaware:
George Read
Caesar Rodney
Thomas McKean
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Georgia
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
South Carolina:
Edward Ruteledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
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