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The Unsung Heroes of the Declaration of Independence

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Explore the lesser-known contributors to America's founding document.

description: an old parchment document with faded ink and signatures at the bottom, symbolizing the signing of the declaration of independence.

By Erin McCarthy | Jul 3, 2023, 1:11 PM EDT. August 2, 1776 is one of the most important but least celebrated days in American history, when 56 members of the Second Continental Congress officially signed the Declaration of Independence. This document, penned in the midst of the American Revolution, declared the 13 American colonies independent from British rule and laid the foundation for the United States of America.

While the names of prominent figures like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin are often associated with the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, there were many other individuals who played significant roles in its creation. Not all signers of the Declaration of Independence are recognized for their commitment and tenacity to gaining freedom from Britain.

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress asked five delegates, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, to write the draft version of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, a skilled writer, was ultimately tasked with drafting the document, drawing inspiration from various sources including Enlightenment philosophy and the writings of English philosopher John Locke.

The voice of Doctor Johnson, archcritic of the American Revolution, was constantly in mind for the Declaration of Independence's drafter. Despite facing criticism and opposition, the drafters of the Declaration of Independence remained steadfast in their mission to create a document that would fundamentally change the course of history.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." These famous words from the Declaration of Independence have become synonymous with the principles of liberty and equality upon which the United States was founded. Every year on July 4th, we celebrate this document on which our nation's values are based.

The Declaration of Independence was not only a declaration of separation from Great Britain, but also a statement of the inherent rights of all individuals. It asserted the importance of self-governance and the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, ideals that continue to shape American society today.

In the decades following the Declaration of Independence, Americans began reading the affirmation that “all men are created equal” in a new light. The document served as a catalyst for social and political change, inspiring movements for civil rights, women's rights, and equality for all citizens.

Who's Your Founding Father? takes a gonzo approach to unpacking a storied legend about where an early version of our establishing edit may have originated. This tongue-in-cheek exploration sheds light on the lesser-known contributors to America's founding document and highlights the diverse perspectives that shaped its creation.

Overall, the Declaration of Independence stands as a testament to the courage, vision, and determination of the individuals who fought for America's independence. It is a reminder of the enduring principles of liberty and equality that continue to define the American spirit.

declaration of independenceamerican historysecond continental congressthomas jeffersonjohn adamsbenjamin franklinindependencelibertyequalityfounding fathersrightssocial change

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