The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America

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NOTES REGARDING THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION

The only names on the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence, which is attached to the original manuscript Journals of Congress as a part of the official record of the proceedings on July 4, 1776, are printed thereon as follows:

"Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary."

The manuscript Journal of July 4, 1776, does not contain any other statement in regard to signing the Declaration at that time or the names of the Members present and agreeing to its adoption. Copies of the Declaration sent to the State assemblies and to General Washington for proclamation, by order of Congress, likewise had printed thereon an authentication only by Hancock and Thomson. Their names likewise are signed to the first publication of the Declaration, on July 6, 1776, in the Pennsylvania Evening Post of Philadelphia which did not include any other signatures.

On July 19, 1776, Congress adopted the following resolution:

"Resolved, That the Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of 'The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America' and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress."

The Journal of August 2, 1776, further records,

"The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed by the members."

The subsequently printed Journals have inserted in the proceedings for July 4, 1776, the text of the Declaration as engrossed on August 2, 1776, and the names of the signers of the parchment copy which is on display in the exhibition hall of the National Archives. The Journals for 1776, printed in 1777 and 1800, list 55 of the 56 signers, the name of Thomas McKean of Delaware not being included, as he had not up to that time signed the engrossed Declaration. McKean voted for the resolution of independence, but was with Washington's Army when the Declaration was engrossed and was not a Member of Congress from December 1776 to January 30, 1778.

As a matter of fact, a number of the Members who later signed the Declaration were not present in Congress when it was adopted on July 4

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