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John Binns’ Engraving of the Declaration of Independence, 1819

Few copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated in 1776, but numerous ceremonial copies were published in the surge of patriotism following the War of 1812. This one exactly copied the signers’ signatures, but added the seals of the 13 original states and portraits of George Washington, John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

John Binns’ Engraving of the Declaration of Independence

Uniting for Revolution - 2

Fighting between British troops and colonial militia began in April 1775, but the country remained divided on the issue of independence. When it became clear to the Second Continental Congress that a resolution for independence proposed in May 1776 would easily pass, the Congress created the Committee of Five to draft the document that would declare to the world why the United Colonies separated from Great Britain. Primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776.