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Martin Kelly

Committee Created to Write the Declaration of Independence

By June 11, 2011

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Five men were named to a committee on June 11, 1776 to draft a document explaining the grievances against Great Britain. This document would become the Declaration of Independence. The committee members were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. However, Jefferson took on the task of actually writing the document. Franklin and the committee helped with revisions and then the entire Continental Congress went through and debated the document to refine it to the final copy that was officially adopted on July 4, 1776.


June 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm
(1) Sandi says:

Victor, we need to do what again? Write a declaration? I think we need only return to our founding principles.

By the way, the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence on July 2nd. John Adams thought that date should be celebrated as America’s birthday. He said,

“It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

But the people were so enamored of the Declaration after it was read out, that they chose to celebrate on the day of the its adoption by congress, July 4th.

As Martin Kelly noted the whole congress revised this. It took them two days to do so. On the 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson signed it. The last duty of the Committee of Five was to get it printed. Those are the Dunlap Broadsides. The engrossed copies were not ready until August, so that is when the Declaration was officially signed by the members of congress, not just the president and secretary.

June 23, 2011 at 7:13 am
(2) Davey J. says:

You have neglected Adams’ role in this. He was the chair of the drafting committee of five, and it was he who persuaded Jefferson to take on the role of principal draftsman. The rest of the committee then performed some editing on Jefferson’s draft before submitting the draft to the 2d Continental Congress. The Congress, in turn, did some more editing while acting as a committee of the whole. After all that it was adopted, engrossed, and published.

Like many, you have overestimated Jefferson’s part and underestimated the contributions of others.

June 23, 2011 at 10:18 am
(3) Justin says:

This is more a question really, but since the Declaration was sent to England, is it true that England still has it in its possession?

June 24, 2011 at 2:49 am
(4) thethinker says:

The D of I gave us our independence the Constitution gave us the means to keep that independence. All America has to do is to vote men to office that will keep the laws set in the Constitution. It’s up to the people, when peole voted into office do not uphold the Constitution vote them out. The writers had no polital parties to worry about they did what was good for the PEOPLE not the party. America today has a big problem, today the the parties run American not the government. Don’t vote party vote what is best for the PEOPLE!

July 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(5) Sandi says:

Justin, that is a really good question! I am not sure that one of the engrossed copies was sent. It might have been a Dunlap Broadside or a copy written by Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress. Whichever was sent over, there are multiple copies of the Declaration. I have seen three, one in DC, one in Philadelphia, and in Richmond a copy that is believed to have belonged to Jefferson. I am going to have to research your question.

September 20, 2011 at 8:00 am
(6) Sandi says:

Justin, according to what I have found, I do not think that the Second Continental Congress sent any copies to Great Britain. However, there were many copies made and even translations of it into other languages. British officials in the colonies did send copies of the Declaration to London. My guess is that these would have been broadsides, printed copies. A original Dunlap Broadside was found in England two years ago. Could this have been one sent by the British officials?

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