On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve Virginia's motion to separate from Great Britain's tyrannical rule of the American colonies.
Months earlier, May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first of 13 colonies to declare separation from Great Britain.
Many acknowledge that a Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, was the greatest influence on the Declaration of Independence, a proclamation that the 13 original colonies had resolved to separate from Great Britain.
Thereby no coincidence can be assumed that on the very day the colony of Virginia's motion to separate was approved by the Continental Congress, July 2, the remaining 12 colonies rallied behind Thomas Jefferson to compile a single declaration for the freedom of all 13 colonies.
John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, was in that room with Thomas Jefferson on July 2 (Independence Hall; Philadelphia, PA). The next day, in a letter to his wife Abigail, Adams wrote, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America."
And Adams would've been right if Twitter existed. Instead the creators of the Declaration relied on Philadelphian John Dunlap to create hundreds of reproductions of the document. This would take days. In the meantime a minor revision to the document was made, and therefore when the reproductions were disseminated to the 13 Colonies on July 5, the final copy of the Declaration of Independence was dated July 4, 1776.
Word travelled slow in those days. New York City, for example, did not recieve word of the Declaration until July 9.
Of the 56 men who would eventually sign this document, Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, age 26 (my age), was the youngest.
Only one signer, Richard Stockon, of Princeton, New Jersey, recanted his signature and swore allegiance to King George III after he was captured and imprisioned by the British.
The signers' commitment to their core principles gave birth to the freest of all nations. Their courage was rewarded with the ultimate prize of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There was an easier road in life for all of these men before the Declaration. Many signers had families, careers, and comforts that were sacrificed for this cause.
Under the stress of direct and anonymous threats of physical and abstract violence these signers remained committed to their core principles and outlasted their enemies' attempts at intimidation. Many had their homes and property looted and vandalized by the British and even Americans who felt completely unnerved by the truths these signers held to be self evident.
In honor of these fearless men who signed the Declaration of Independence, I've included their legal name as stated on the document.
Please take a moment to read each of their names to yourself as to ensure their act of bravery is never forgotten.
PCT Mile 915.
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
- 1. John Hancock (Massachusetts)
- 24. Robert Morris
- 25. Benjamin Rush
- 26. Benjamin Franklin
- 27. John Morton
- 28. George Clymer
- 29. James Smith
- 30. George Taylor
- 31. James Wilson
- 32. George Ross
- 40. George Wythe
- 41. Richard Henry Lee
- 42. Thomas Jefferson
- 43. Benjamin Harrison
- 44. Thomas Nelson, Jr.
- 45. Francis Lightfoot Lee
- 46. Carter Braxton