Monday, July 28, 2008

I saw this in Hawaii, it made me laugh!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!!!

The United States Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, announcing that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence:
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

On July 19, Congress ordered a copy be engrossed on parchment for the delegates to sign. Most of the delegates who signed did so on August 2, 1776, although some signers were not present and had to sign later. The signed, engrossed copy is now on display at the National Archives.

The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26), was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. Late signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton (who, because of a lack of space, was unable to place his signature on the top right of the signing area with the other New Hampshire delegates and had to place his signature on the lower right). As new delegates joined the Congress, they were also allowed to sign. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed.

Three delegates who were present during the debate never signed. Robert R. Livingston, a member of the original drafting committee, was present for the vote on July 2 but returned to New York before the August 2 signing. John Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature. Thomas Lynch voted for the Declaration but could not sign it because of illness.