When was the declaration of independence signed?

IV. The declaration of independence

As early as June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress had set up a committee in which representatives of various major regions and political directions were represented to prepare a comprehensive justification for the independence decision: the thirty-three-year-old lawyer and plantation owner Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, whose pamphlet A Summary View of, was chaired the Rights of British America (1774) had identified him as an eminent stylist and radical analyst. On June 28, 1776, a Friday, Jefferson handwritten the draft committee, which had essentially been written by him, to the President of the Congress. The other committee members, including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams agreed to it after a few stylistic changes. The plenum deliberated sentence by sentence from July 2nd to 4th. The final version was passed unanimously on Thursday afternoon, July 4th, but without a vote by the New York delegation.

John Dunlap, a printer who frequently worked for Congress, produced the poster printing under Jefferson's supervision, which was also the basis for the translation printed by Melchior Steiner, Carl Cist and Henrich Miller. Miller, the German and English-speaking colleague of Dunlaps, who had fought for the rights of the colonists since 1762, reported in the Friday edition of his Pennsylvania State Envoy on July 5, 1776 in bold capital letters: "Yesterday the Honorable Congress of this fortress country held the United Colonies of Freye The Declaration in English is now in the press; it is dated July 4th, 1776, and will appear in print today or tomorrow. " He did not refer to the preparation of a German poster print whose exact publication date and translator are unknown. In the next edition of the Messenger of State, on Tuesday July 9th, 1776, the most splendid front page he had ever written read "The Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, Assembled in the Congress General". Miller's newspaper text and the poster text are almost identical. Both are set in two columns, except for the impressive headings. The German poster is therefore closer to the newspaper break than the single-column broadside Dunlaps. Perhaps Miller, Steiner and Cist had initially only prepared the newspaper text together and then, based on the public proclamation of the English text on July 8, determined that the proclamation of independence throughout the country required by the continental congress also required German poster printing and was profitable for them .

Both Miller and Dunlap attached importance to the public proclamation, the execution of the declaration as an act of speaking, and described the proclamation in Philadelphia in the Tuesday edition of July 9, 1776:

"Yesterday at noon at twelve o'clock the declaration of independence, which is in the front of this newspaper, in the local court of the State House, on a lofty scaffolding, was publicly proclaimed in English, and thereby the United Colonies of North America from all to the King of Great Britain Duty and loyalty, from now on and in the future, completely free, single and renounced. The proclamation was made by Colonel Nixon, with Mr. Sheriff William Dewees at his ropes; in the beyseyn of many members of Congress, the Assembly, the Generals and other high officials War officials; downstairs in the courtyard were perhaps a few thousand people who attended this solemn event. After reading the declaration, a three-time shout of joy was made with the words: God bless the Free States of North America! let every real friend of these colonies say yes and amen. "

Such proclamations took place in many parishes and in front of Washington's troops in the weeks that followed. We do not know any details about readings of the German poster printing. Its existence, the publication in the State Messenger, and numerous other political texts - from Paines Common Reason, the negotiation minutes and resolutions translated and printed on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislature, up to the 3500 copies of the federal constitution distributed in Pennsylvania alone in 1787 - testify to that One third of the Pennsylvanians who spoke only or also German around 1776 were also able to take part in the major political decisions of the time in German. However, it is a 19th century legend that there was ever a vote on German as the national language of the United States or even Pennsylvania.

It was not until August 2, 1776, that the fair copy of the Declaration of Independence on parchment with the addition "unanimously" in the heading was laid out for all members of the Continental Congress to sign. Now the New Yorkers and several other delegates who were absent on July 4th also signed.