Skip to main content
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
~ Declaration of Independence, 1776, read a transcription
Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.
~ Thomas Jefferson, 1826, letter to Roger C. Weightman, the mayor of Washington, on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Declaration of Independence. Trumbull, John, 1756-1843
Thomas Jefferson's "original Rough draught" of the
Declaration of Independence, written in June 1776
Today in History - July 4
History of the celebration of Independence Day from the Library of Congress.
Philadelphians marked the first anniversary of American independence with a spontaneous celebration. However, observing Independence Day only became commonplace after the War of 1812.
The History of America’s Independence Day
PBS "A Capitol Fourth"
Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870. Today, communities across the nation mark this major midsummer holiday with parades, firework displays, picnics and performances of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Fourth of July Celebrations
By the 1870s, the Fourth of July was the most important nonreligious holiday on the calendar. All across the country, on that day, towns and cities held celebrations with parades, barbecues, and fireworks. America's Story from America's Library, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the largest library in the world and the nation's library.
Creating the United States
Imagination and vision played critical roles in the creative act of forming a self-governing United States of America. The collections of the Library of Congress are unquestionably the worlds best source for documenting that process. This exhibition offers a remarkable opportunity to learn in a fresh new way how the founding documents that emerged from this period were forged out of insight, invention, and creativity, as well as collaboration and much compromise
Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents
Library of Congress Digital Exhibition.
Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia behind a veil of Congressionally imposed secrecy in June 1776 for a country wracked by military and political uncertainties. In anticipation of a vote for independence, the Continental Congress on June 11 appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee then delegated Thomas Jefferson to undertake the task. Jefferson worked diligently in private for days to compose a document. Proof of the arduous nature of the work can be seen in the fragment of the first known composition draft of the declaration, the "original Rough draught."
The Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
Library of Congress Web Guide to Primary Documents in American History. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), approved the Declaration of Independence, severing the colonies' ties to the British Crown.
Declaration of Independence, Dunlap Broadside, 7/4/1776
Held by the U.S. National Archives, this is the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence. Drafted for the most part by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence justified breaking the colonial ties to Great Britain by providing a basic philosophy of government and a list of grievances against the Crown. John Dunlap of Philadelphia was the printer to the Continental Congress.
Engrossed Declaration of Independence (officially inscribed, hand-written manuscript) World Digital Library
July 19, 1776, Congress resolved that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile [sic]: 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America'...and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress." The engrossing was most likely done by Timothy Matlack, an assistant to Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress.
The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.
In 1777, Mary Katherine Goddard printed the first official copy, "the first issue", of the Declaration of Independence with the names of the signers attached. "In Congress, January 18, 1777. Ordered, that an authenticated copy of the Declaration of Independency, with the names of the members of Congress, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the United States, and that they be desired to have the same put on record."
Mary Katharine Goddard, Printer of the First Official Issue of the Declaration of Independence
Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816)
National Women's History Museum.
A newspaper publisher and postmaster of Baltimore, Maryland, Mary Katherine Goddard is famous for printing of the first copy of the Declaration of Independence that included the signers’ names.
Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series)
Mary Katherine Goddard embodied the revolutionary spirit of her time--from running a newspaper to a running a post office. The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, was the only newspaper published in Baltimore during the Revolution. Goddard served as the first female postmaster, a postition she held throughout the war. As a woman in the public eye, she broke traditional gender constraints to establish herself as a prominent entrepreneur in Baltimore.
On July 10, 1776, the Maryland Journal published the newly agreed upon Declaration of Independence, under the title, "The Thirteen United States of America Have Declared Independency." On January 18, 1777, Mary Katherine Goddard made history by being the first in the United States to print a copy of the Declaration with all signatures.
Mary Katherine Goddard ~ In the Course of Human Events
Declaration Resources Project, Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University
Mary Katherine Goddard, printer and postmaster to the Second Continental Congress in Baltimore. The Goddard Broadside was the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence specifically intended for preservation. It was the first printed broadside to use the title "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America". It was the first version of the Declaration to list the names of (most of) the signers. And, it is the only "official" version of the Declaration of Independence to be printed by a woman. Mary Katherine Goddard's imprint at the bottom of her broadside proudly presents her full name.
Mary Katherine Goddard ~ Women in Postal History
Women in the U.S. Postal System at The National Postal Museum of the Smithsonian.
Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) was appointed Baltimore’s postmaster in 1775. Goddard may have been the first woman postmaster in colonial America. She originally served under the leadership of Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin who oversaw the newly independent colonial postal system.
The Significance Of The Goddard Broadside ~ New York Public Library.
The first printings of the Declaration did not include a list of the signers. That was because the delegates had not yet signed. The job of printing this new copy of the Declaration, the first to list the signers, went to a woman named Mary Katherine Goddard. Publicizing the signers’ names was a bold step considering that they were endorsing treason. This is how most Americans in the revolutionary period found out who actually signed the Declaration of Independence.
Artist Mindy Belloff is the first contemporary printer to recreate the world-changing Declaration of Independence in 2009, as originally printed by a woman, Mary Katharine Goddard in January 1777.
While there have been numerous facsimiles of the Dunlap document over the past two centuries, until Mindy Belloff’s announcement of her project in January 2009, there had been no reprinting of the 1777 Goddard Broadside.
Cuisine & Agriculture, Food & Farms, Wine & Gardens
The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
Telephone: 845-451-1747 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org |