Was the Declaration of Independence Really Signed on July 4 1776?

Of the 56 men who signed this important document in American history, only one man actually signed it on that historic date. That man was John Hancock, whose name appears above and larger than all the other names.

It wasn’t until August 2, 1776 that 52 other men signed it, for it was then that the Declaration of Independence was transferred to parchment, a cloth-like paper which can be preserved a much longer time than ordinary paper.

The other three men signed it much later, one as late as 1781. That man, Thomas McKean of Delaware, had left the original meeting in 1776 to join George Washington’s army, and didn’t realize that he hadn’t signed the Declaration of Independence until five years later.

The names of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence were kept secret by the colonists for almost a year, because the British government had offered a $2500 reward for those men’s names, considering them guilty of high treason, a crime punishable by death!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Was the Declaration of Independence Really Signed on July 4 1776?”

  1. I never knew that the Declaration wasn’t actually completely signed on July 4th! That is really interesting!

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