Who Signed The Declaration Of Independence? - 2024, CLT Livre

Who Signed The Declaration Of Independence?

Who were the signers of the Declaration of Independence by age?

Ages of the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776: James Monroe, 18 Aaron Burr, 20 Alexander Hamilton, 21 James Madison, 25 Thomas Jefferson, 33 John Adams, 40 Paul Revere, 41 George Washington, 44 Let’s hope the young people of today embrace the greatness of the United States.

Who signed the Declaration of Independence first and why?

Voting on the Declaration of Independence – After much debate, the Second Continental Congress ultimately agreed to the Declaration of Independence, and then signed it on August 2, 1776, in the Pennsylvania State House. Painting by Robert Edge Pine The most well-known printed version of the United States’ Declaration of Independence is emblazoned with the words “In Congress, July 4, 1776” at the top, and displays the signatures of John Hancock and other founding fathers at the bottom. Yet it is not true, as often believed, that the document was actually signed on that celebrated date.

  • These historic events, central to the founding of the United States of America, deserve to be understood in detail.In May of 1775, the Second Continental Congress was seated in the Assembly Hall of the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.
  • Weeks earlier, hostilities had broken out between the British and colonial militias at Lexington, Massachusetts, and Concord, Massachusetts.

King George III had not replied to the petition sent the prior October by the First Continental Congress, stating the colonists’ grievances. In August of 1775, the King declared the colonies to be in open rebellion. The Second Congress swiftly formed a Continental Army under the command of George Washington.

  • By the middle of 1776, public sentiment in numerous colonies appeared to have turned decisively in favor of independence from Great Britain.
  • Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia delegate acting on behalf of the Virginia Convention, proposed to Congress a resolution on independence on June 7, 1776.
  • The first of three provisions in this resolution read as follows: “Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” Other town and colonial assemblies were issuing similar pleas.

Such a profound action demanded careful deliberation. On June 11, Congress put off a vote on Lee’s resolution. It appointed a five-member committee to draft a public statement that would explain the reasons for declaring independence should Congress so decide.

John Adams of Massachusetts and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania were on the committee, along with Robert R. Livingston of New York and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. The fifth member, Virginian Thomas Jefferson, was chosen to be the document’s principal drafter. After incorporating changes suggested by Adams and Franklin, the committee submitted its draft declaration to the Congress on June 28.

This is the scene depicted in that now hangs in the Capitol Building rotunda in Washington, D.C. Congress debated Lee’s resolution on Monday, July 1. Nine colonies were prepared to vote in favor. The South Carolina and Pennsylvania delegations were opposed; the two Delaware delegates were deadlocked; and the New York delegates were unable to vote, since their instructions permitted them only to pursue reconciliation with the king.

  1. Overnight, however, the situation changed.
  2. On July 2, Caesar Rodney rode in to Philadelphia from Dover, Delaware, bringing a tie-breaking vote for Delaware in favor of independence.
  3. South Carolina shifted its position in favor, and the Pennsylvania opponents chose to stay away.
  4. When the vote was called on July 2, the Lee resolution passed by a vote of 12 to zero, with New York abstaining.

After this historic decision, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, predicting that future Americans would commemorate their independence with a festival every second of July.Meanwhile, that same day in the New York harbor, British troops under Admiral William Howe landed at Staten Island.

They were preparing for imminent battle with Washington’s forces. The full Congress then began debating the declaration, making substantial editorial revisions but leaving mostly untouched the soaring rhetoric of Jefferson’s opening paragraphs. On July 4, Congress approved the final draft. It ordered the statement printed and distributed to the colonial assemblies and divisions of the Continental Army.

That evening, the printer John Dunlap prepared a large broadside with the complete text of “a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” It is believed that about 200 copies of the Dunlap broadside were published on July 5; about 25 still exist today.

At the bottom are printed these words: “Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary.” The document was read aloud in front of the statehouse in Philadelphia on July 8. Over the next few weeks it was reprinted in newspapers up and down the Atlantic seaboard.

On July 9, New York reversed its earlier instructions to its delegates, permitting them to join the other colonies favoring a formal break with Britain. A few days later, the news reached Philadelphia that the colonies were now unanimously for independence.

  1. On July 19, Congress ordered an official copy of the declaration to be “fairly engrossed”—written out in large handwriting—on parchment for the delegates to sign.
  2. This job went to Timothy Matlack, an assistant to the congressional secretary, Charles Thomson.
  3. On August 2, 1776, the Congress members affixed their signatures to this parchment inside the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall.

The first and largest signature was that of the president of the Congress, John Hancock of Massachusetts. The mood in the room was far from jubilant. All were aware of the magnitude of what they were undertaking—an act of high treason against the British Crown that could cost each man his life.

Recalling the day many years later, Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Rush wrote of the “pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress,” to sign “what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants.” Not every man who had been present in Congress on July 4 signed the declaration on August 2.

Historians believe seven of the 56 signatures on the document were placed there later. Two prominent delegates passed up the chance to sign: John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York. The names of the signers were made public in January of 1777, when they were printed on another broadside edition of the Declaration published in Baltimore, Maryland.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence and who signed it?

The icon indicates free access to the linked research on JSTOR. The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We now credit Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration’s authorship, but that was not the case on that momentous day, nor for a significant time afterwards. The document was drafted by a committee made up of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. Jefferson, recognized for his ability with words, wrote the first draft; then it was edited by the others, and then edited again by the whole Congress.

  • Fifty-six members of Congress signed it (one of them as late as November).
  • So how did Jefferson, “initially anonymous as the penman of the Declaration, gain renown as its author?” Robert M.S.
  • McDonald answers his own question with this insightful exploration into the changing meanings of authorship and authority, and the changing political scene,

Between 1776 and 1826, McDonald argues, the political usefulness of the Declaration “hinged on Americans’ initial ignorance and then gradual recognition of Jefferson’s authorship.” During the Revolution, the Declaration was considered a statement of consensus collectively issued by the “unanimous” thirteen states.

Committing an act of treason against the British Crown, the signers put down their names with courage and conviction: the document ends “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Its effectiveness came not from individual will, but from the “self-evidence of its arguments.” But by the 1790s, the battle for independence had been won.

The battle for the United States had begun: “The Declaration became a weapon of partisan warfare, and Jefferson’s fame as its creator gradually increased,” writes McDonald. John Adams, for one, was not pleased. He wondered in 1805 if there was “ever a coup de théâtre that had so great an effect as Jefferson’s penmanship of the Declaration of Independence?”

Who signed the Declaration of Independence the largest?

1737-1793 Representing Massachusetts at the Continental Congress by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress

Born: January 12, 1737
Birthplace: Braintree (Quincy), Mass.
Education: Graduated Harvard College (Merchant.)
Work: Elected to the Boston Assembly, 1766; Delegate to, and President of, the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, circa 1773; Elected to Continental Congress, 1774; Elected President of the Continental Congress, 1775; Member of Massachusetts state Constitutional Convention, elected Governor of Massachusetts, through 1793.
Died: October 8, 1793

The signature of John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence is the most flamboyant and easily recognizable of all. It is perhaps no surprise that the story of his part in the revolution is equally engaging. Few figures were more well known or more popular than John Hancock.

  1. He played an instrumental role, sometimes by accident, and other times by design, in coaxing the American Revolution into being.
  2. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1737, he was orphaned as a child, and adopted by a wealthy merchant uncle who was childless.
  3. Hancock attended Harvard College for a business education and graduated at the age of 17.

He apprenticed to his uncle as a clerk and proved so honest and capable that, in 1760, he was sent on a business mission to England. There he witnessed the coronation of George III and engaged some of the leading businessmen of London. In 1763, his uncle died and John Hancock inherited what was said to be the greatest body of wealth in New England.

This placed him in a society of men who consisted mainly of loyalists, suspected by the working population because of their great affluence and social power. Hancock, however, soon became very involved in revolutionary politics and his sentiments were, early on and clearly, for independence from Great Britain.

He was in company with the Adamses and other prominent leaders in the republican movement in New England. He was elected to the Boston Assembly in 1766, and was a member of the Stamp Act Congress. In 1768 his sloop Liberty was impounded by customs officials at Boston Harbor, on a charge of running contraband goods.

A large group of private citizens stormed the customs post, burned the government boat, and beat the officers, causing them to seek refuge on a ship off shore. Soon afterward, Hancock abetted the Boston Tea Party. The following year he delivered a public address to a large crowd in Boston, commemorating the Boston Massacre.

In 1774, he was elected to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts and simultaneously to the Continental Congress. When Peyton Randolph resigned in 1776, Hancock assumed the position of President. He retired in 1777 due to problems with gout, but continued public service in his native state by participating in the formation of its constitution.

He was then elected to the Governorship of the state where he served for five years, declined reelection, and was again elected in 1787. He served in that office until his death in 1793. The dignity and character of John Hancock, celebrated by friend and enemy alike, did not suffer for his love of public attention.

He was a populist in every sense, who held great confidence in the ability of the common man. He also displayed a pronounced contempt for unreasoned authority. A decree had been delivered from England in early 1776 offering a large reward for the capture of several leading figures.

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Who signed the Declaration of Independence last?

7 Little-Known Facts about the Declaration of Independence UCF lecturer David Head barely needs notes to teach the course U.S. History: 1492-1877, He wrote a book on early America, edited the 300,000-word Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400 – 1900, and is currently in the middle of another three-year book project focused on George Washington.

The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4

Thomas Jefferson presented a draft of what would become the Declaration of Independence in the days before July 4, 1776. The full Congress debated, revised and edited the document on July 2 and July 3. By July 4, they ratified the wording. But the formal copy of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially finalized until two weeks later and it wasn’t signed until August 2.

Attendance for the signing wasn’t so great

With no FedEx available, the document stayed in Philadelphia until each of the 56 delegates could eventually travel there by horse. It would take six months for all the signatures to be compiled. Thomas McKean of Delaware was the last person to sign, possibly as late as 1777 (the actual date is disputed), though some copies of the declaration do not have McKean’s name on them.

Two 26-year-olds from South Carolina were the youngest to sign the Declaration of Independence (Thomas Lynch Jr., and Edward Rutledge). Benjamin Franklin, 70, was the oldest. Eight of the men were born in the British Isles. They were lawyers, of course, but also businessmen, farmers, teachers, and a minister (John Witherspoon of New Jersey).

Two signers were inventors of similarly named musical instruments that never caught on (Francis Hopkinson with the Bellarmonic, and Benjamin Franklin with the glass armonica).

Nine of the signers died before independence was officially won

Between 1776 and 1783, when the states achieved independence, nine of the signers died — some in bizarre circumstances. Button Gwinnett of Georgia, died in a duel over conduct in a battle. And 26-year-old Thomas Lynch Jr., who was one of the two youngest to sign, drowned in a storm on his way to France.

There were other declarations of independence

In early 1776, there seemed to be no end to the war and little hope for reconciliation with England. So a number of localities and colonies produced their own statements about independence. The authors were judges, politicians, even laborers. Turns out, the sentiments in the official Declaration of Independence are very similar to the declarations at the local levels.

The first celebration was short-lived

As the declaration was being read to the Continental Army troops on July 9, they were on the verge of being routed by the British Army. The troops and their faithful had just enough time to tear down the two-ton statue of George III in New York and send it up the East River to Connecticut, where its pieces were melted into musket balls.

The document almost became worthless

The British had George Washington’s troops trapped in New York City — almost. Washington found an escape route, crossed the Delaware River and regrouped before going back on the offensive. Had the British been more aggressive and cut off Washington in Manhattan, the war could have been lost, the Declaration of Independence would have been nothing but evidence of treason — and there’s no telling what kind of history we’d be talking about today.

Who was the youngest signer of the Constitution?

Fascinating Facts: –

The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Of the spelling errors in the Constitution, “Pensylvania” above the signers’ names is probably the most glaring. Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either. Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment’s quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent. When it came time for the states to ratify the Constitution, the lack of any bill of rights was the primary sticking point. Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face. The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26). When the Constitution was signed, the United States’ population was 4 million. It is now more than 321 million. Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants. George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.

What happened to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

56 and Treason: The Declaration of Independence The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines treason as “the betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.” When the 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, they knew full well that they were committing treason against England and they knew the penalty—death.

What kind of men were the signers? Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician and one a printer. They were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.

In fact, it was Benjamin Franklin who, after putting his quill pen down quipped, “We must indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.” Despite such dire consequences, the reality was that our Founding Fathers valued freedom and its promise for themselves and their posterity so much so that they would risk and pledge their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor.” Signing the Declaration proved to be very costly.

Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the Revolutionary War and died from wounds or hardships. Two lost their sons in the war, and two others had sons captured. At least a dozen of the 56 had their homes pillaged and burned.242 years later, a grateful nation remembers their courageous actions and sacrifices.

Forest Lawn’s tribute to these heroes may be seen in the Declaration of Independence mosaic at Forest Lawn-Glendale. It is a colorful rendition of John Trumbull’s painting which hangs in the US Capitol building, and an enduring testament to their greatness.

Why did America declare independence?

The Declaration of Independence: How Did it Happen? In the early 1770s, more and more colonists became convinced that Parliament intended to take away their freedom. In fact, the Americans saw a pattern of increasing oppression and corruption happening all around the world. Parliament was determined to bring its unruly American subjects to heel.

Britain began to prepare for war in early 1775. The first fighting broke out in April in Massachusetts. In August, the King declared the colonists “in a state of open and avowed rebellion.” For the first time, many colonists began to seriously consider cutting ties with Britain. The publication of Thomas Paine’s stirring pamphlet Common Sense in early 1776 lit a fire under this previously unthinkable idea.

The movement for independence was now in full swing.

Who wrote most the Declaration?

Original Rough Draft of the Declaration – Written in June 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, included eighty-six changes made later by John Adams (1735–1826), Benjamin Franklin 1706–1790), other members of the committee appointed to draft the document, and by Congress.

The “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence, one of the great milestones in American history, shows the evolution of the text from the initial composition draft by Jefferson to the final text adopted by Congress on the morning of July 4, 1776. At a later date perhaps in the nineteenth century, Jefferson indicated in the margins some but not all of the corrections suggested by Adams and Franklin.

Late in life Jefferson endorsed this document: “Independence Declaration of original Rough draught.” Thomas Jefferson. Draft of Declaration of Independence, 1776. Manuscript. Manuscript Division (49) Bookmark this item: //www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jeffdec.html#049 Back to top

Why do we say John Hancock?

Signing the Declaration – Hancock’s signature on the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence is visibly larger than the others. Hancock’s signature up close Hancock was president of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. He is primarily remembered by Americans for his large, flamboyant signature on the Declaration, so much so that “John Hancock” became, in the United States, an informal synonym for signature,

  1. According to legend, Hancock signed his name largely and clearly so that King George could read it without his spectacles, but the story is apocryphal and originated years later.
  2. Contrary to popular mythology, there was no ceremonial signing of the Declaration on July 4, 1776.
  3. After Congress approved the wording of the text on July 4, the fair copy was sent to be printed.

As president, Hancock may have signed the document that was sent to the printer John Dunlap, but this is uncertain because that document is lost, perhaps destroyed in the printing process. Dunlap produced the first published version of the Declaration, the widely distributed Dunlap broadside,

  1. Hancock, as President of Congress, was the only delegate whose name appeared on the broadside, although the name of Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress but not a delegate, was also on it as “Attested by” implying that Hancock had signed the fair copy.
  2. This meant that until a second broadside was issued six months later with all of the signers listed, Hancock was the only delegate whose name was publicly attached to the treasonous document.
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Hancock sent a copy of the Dunlap broadside to George Washington, instructing him to have it read to the troops “in the way you shall think most proper”. Hancock’s name was printed, not signed, on the Dunlap broadside; his iconic signature appears on a different document—a sheet of parchment that was carefully handwritten sometime after July 19 and signed on August 2 by Hancock and those delegates present.

How many people signed the Constitution?

Meet the Framers of the Constitution The original states, except Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention. A number of these individuals did not accept or could not attend, including Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.

Who are the 3 non signers of the Constitution?

– In all, 70 delegates were appointed to the Constitutional Convention, but out of that 70 only 55 attended, and only 39 actually signed. Some simply refused, others got sick, still others left early. One of the most famous reasons for why certain delegates didn’t sign was that the document lacked a legitimate Bill of Rights which would protect the rights of States and the freedom of individuals.

Three main advocates of this movement were George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, and Edmund Randolph, Also, John Dickinson who is officially listed as a “signer,” didn’t sign the Constitution himself. Dickinson fell ill during the Convention and couldn’t be there on signing day. So, he authorized George Read to sign for him.

Here are those who did not sign:

How many men signed the Declaration of Independence?

Who signed the Declaration of Independence? 56 delegates to the Continental Congress signed the engrossed Declaration of Independence. Most of the signers voted in favor of independence on July 2nd. Some delegates who voted for independence did not sign the Declaration, and some signers were not delegates to Congress at the time of the vote.

The 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence are (in alphabetical order): John Adams (MA), Samuel Adams (MA), Josiah Bartlett (NH), Carter Braxton (VA), Charles Carroll of Carrollton (MD), Samuel Chase (MD), Abraham Clark (NJ), George Clymer (PA), William Ellery (RI), William Floyd (NY), Benjamin Franklin (PA), Elbridge Gerry (MA), Button Gwinnett (GA), Lyman Hall (GA), John Hancock (MA, President), Benjamin Harrison (VA), John Hart (NJ), Joseph Hewes (NC), Thomas Heyward, Jr.

(SC), William Hooper (NC), Stephen Hopkins (RI), Francis Hopkinson (NJ), Samuel Huntington (CT), Thomas Jefferson (VA), Francis Lightfoot Lee (VA), Richard Henry Lee (VA), Francis Lewis (NY), Philip Livingston (NY), Thomas Lynch, Jr. (SC), Thomas McKean (DE), Arthur Middleton (SC), Lewis Morris (NY), Robert Morris (PA), John Morton (PA), Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Who is the father of the Constitution?

James Madison The biography for President Madison and past presidents is courtesy of the White House Historical Association. James Madison, America’s fourth President (1809-1817), made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing The Federalist Papers, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

In later years, he was referred to as the “Father of the Constitution.” At his inauguration, James Madison, a small, wizened man, appeared old and worn; Washington Irving described him as “but a withered little apple-John.” But whatever his deficiencies in charm, Madison’s wife Dolley compensated for them with her warmth and gaiety.

She was the toast of Washington. Born in 1751, Madison was brought up in Orange County, Virginia, and attended Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). A student of history and government, well-read in law, he participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly.

When delegates to the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia, the 36-year-old Madison took frequent and emphatic part in the debates. Madison made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist essays. In later years, when he was referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison protested that the document was not “the off-spring of a single brain,” but “the work of many heads and many hands.” In Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights and enact the first revenue legislation.

Out of his leadership in opposition to Hamilton’s financial proposals, which he felt would unduly bestow wealth and power upon northern financiers, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party. As President Jefferson’s Secretary of State, Madison protested to warring France and Britain that their seizure of American ships was contrary to international law.

The protests, John Randolph acidly commented, had the effect of “a shilling pamphlet hurled against eight hundred ships of war.” Despite the unpopular Embargo Act of 1807, which did not make the belligerent nations change their ways but did cause a depression in the United States, Madison was elected President in 1808.

Before he took office the Embargo Act was repealed. During the first year of Madison’s Administration, the United States prohibited trade with both Britain and France; then in May, 1810, Congress authorized trade with both, directing the President, if either would accept America’s view of neutral rights, to forbid trade with the other nation.

  • Napoleon pretended to comply.
  • Late in 1810, Madison proclaimed non-intercourse with Great Britain.
  • In Congress a young group including Henry Clay and John C.
  • Calhoun, the “War Hawks,” pressed the President for a more militant policy.
  • The British impressment of American seamen and the seizure of cargoes impelled Madison to give in to the pressure.

On June 1, 1812, he asked Congress to declare war. The young Nation was not prepared to fight; its forces took a severe trouncing. The British entered Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol. But a few notable naval and military victories, climaxed by Gen.

Andrew Jackson’s triumph at New Orleans, convinced Americans that the War of 1812 had been gloriously successful. An upsurge of nationalism resulted. The New England Federalists who had opposed the war–and who had even talked secession–were so thoroughly repudiated that Federalism disappeared as a national party.

In retirement at Montpelier, his estate in Orange County, Virginia, Madison spoke out against the disruptive states’ rights influences that by the 1830’s threatened to shatter the Federal Union. In a note opened after his death in 1836, he stated, “The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated.” Learn more about James Madison’s spouse,,

What were the ages of the signers of the Constitution?

National Park Service – Signers of the Constitution (Biographical Sketches) Biographical Sketches LIKE THE 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention, the 39 signers as a whole were a distinguished body of men who represented an excellent cross section of 18th-century American leadership. Almost all of them were well-educated men of means who were dominant in their communities and States, and many were also prominent in national affairs.

  1. Virtually every one had taken part in the Revolution; at least 23 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command.
  2. The practical political experience of the group was extensive.
  3. At the time of the Convention, more than four-fifths, or 33 individuals, were or had been Members of the Continental Congress.

Mifflin and Gorham had served as President of the body. The only ones who lacked congressional experience were: Bassett, Blair, Brearly, Broom, Paterson, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Six men (Clymer, Franklin, Robert Morris, Read, Sherman, and Wilson) had signed the Declaration of Independence.

Five (Carroll, Dickinson, the two Morrises, and Sherman) had affixed their signatures to the Articles of Confederation. But only two, Sherman and Robert Morris, underwrote all three of the Nation’s basic documents. Practically all the 39 individuals enjoyed experience in colonial and State government, Dickinson, Franklin, Langdon, Livingston, Read, and Rutledge as Governors, or State executives, and the majority had held county and local offices.

Among the signers, the range of occupations was wide, and many men simultaneously pursued more than one. Twenty-two were lawyers or had benefited from legal training, though not all of them relied on the profession for a livelihood. In this category were Baldwin, Bassett, Bedford, Blair, Brearly, Dayton, Dickinson, Few, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Johnson, King, Livingston, Madison, Gouverneur Morris, Paterson, the two Pinckneys, Read, Rutledge, Sherman, and Wilson.

Some had become judges. At the time of the Convention, 11 individuals were businessmen, merchants, or shippers: Blount, Broom, Clymer, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Gilman, Gorham, Langdon, Robert Morris, Sherman, and Wilson. Six were major land speculators: Blount, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Gorham, Robert Morris, and Wilson.

Eleven speculated in securities on a large scale: Bedford, Blair, Clymer, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Franklin, King, Langdon, Robert Morris, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Sherman. Eleven owned or managed slave-operated plantations or large farms: Bassett, Blair, Blount, Butler, Carroll, Jenifer, the two Pinckneys, Rutledge, Spaight, and Washington.

  • Madison also owned slaves.
  • Broom and Few were small farmers.
  • Nine of the men received a substantial part of their income from public office: Baldwin, Bedford, Blair, Brearly, Gilman, Jenifer, Livingston, Madison, and Rutledge.
  • Three had retired from active economic endeavors: Franklin, McHenry, and Mifflin.

Franklin and Williamson were scientists, among their array of other activities. McHenry and Williamson were physicians, and Johnson was an educator-university president. Baldwin had been a minister, and Williamson, Madison, and possibly others had studied in this field but had never been ordained.

A few of the signers were rich. Washington and Robert Morris ranked among the Nation’s wealthiest men. Carroll, Jenifer, and Mifflin were also extremely well-to-do. The financial resources of the majority of the rest ranged from good to excellent. Among those with the most straitened circumstances were Baldwin, Few, Brearly, Broom, Madison, Paterson, and Sherman, though they all managed to live comfortably.

A considerable number of the men were born into leading families: Blair, Butler, Carroll, Ingersoll, Jenifer, Johnson, Livingston, Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris, both Pinckneys, Rutledge, and Washington. Others were self-made men who had risen from humble beginnings: Few, Franklin, Gorham, Hamilton, and Sherman.

  • Most of the group were natives of the 13 Colonies.
  • Only seven were born elsewhere: four (Butler, Fitzsimons, McHenry, and Paterson) in Ireland, one (Robert Morris) in England, one (Wilson) in Scotland, and one (Hamilton) in the West Indies.
  • But, if most of the signers were native-born, many of them had moved from one State to another.

Reflecting the mobility that has always characterized American life, 13 individuals had already lived or worked in more than one State or colony. They were: Baldwin, Bassett, Bedford, Dickinson, Few, Franklin, Ingersoll, Livingston, the two Morrises, Read, Sherman, and Williamson.

  • Others had studied or traveled abroad.
  • The educational background of the Founding Fathers was diverse.
  • Some, Franklin for example, were largely self-taught and had received scant formal training.
  • Others had obtained instruction from private tutors or at academies.
  • About half of the individuals had attended or graduated from college, in the present United States or abroad.

Some men held advanced and honorary degrees. All in all, the signers were a well-educated group. Most of them were in the prime of their lives during the Convention, and as a whole they were relatively youthful. The average age was about 45 years. The youngest, Dayton, at 26, was one of three men in their twenties, the others being Spaight and Charles Pinckney.

  • Eleven were in the thirties, 13 in the forties, and 8 in the fifties.
  • Jenifer, Livingston, and Sherman were in the sixties, and Franklin was in his eighties.
  • For their era, the signers of the Constitution, like those of the Declaration of Independence, were remarkably long-lived.
  • The average age at death was almost 67.
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Johnson reached 92 years; and Few, Franklin, Madison, and Williamson lived into their eighties. Passing away in their eighth decade were 10 or 11 (because Fitzsimons was either 69 or 70 at the time of his death); and in the sixties, 13 or 14. Seven lived into the fifties, and three into the forties—two of the latter (Hamilton and Spaight) dying as the result of duels.

Several signers of the Constitution attended the College of New Jersey (present Princeton University), shown here about 1764. Nassau Hall, the main building, is on the left; the President’s House, on the right. (Engraving (undated) by Henry Dawkins, after W. Tennant, in An Account of the College of New Jersey (1764). Library of Congress.)

Most of the individuals married and fathered children. Sherman sired the largest family, numbering 15 by two wives. At least seven (Bassett, Brearly, Johnson, Paterson, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Sherman, and Wilson) married more than once. Three (Baldwin, Gilman, and Jenifer) were lifetime bachelors.

  • In terms of religious affiliation, the men mirrored the overwhelmingly Protestant character of American religious life at the time and were members of various denominations.
  • Only two, Carroll and Fitzsimons, were Roman Catholics.
  • The later careers of the signers reflected their abilities as well as the vagaries of fate.

Most were successful, though five of the men (Fitzsimons, Gorham, Mifflin, Robert Morris, and Wilson) suffered serious financial reverses that left them in or near bankruptcy. Two, Blount and Dayton, were involved in possibly treasonable activities. Yet, as they had done before the Convention, most of the group continued to render outstanding public service, particularly to the new Government they had helped to create.

Washington and Madison became Presidents of the United States, and King and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney were nominated as candidates for the office. Hamilton, McHenry, and Madison attained Cabinet posts. Sixteen men became U.S. Senators: Baldwin, Bassett, Blount, Butler, Dayton, Few, Gilman, Johnson, King, Langdon, the two Morrises, Paterson, Charles Pinckney, Read, and Sherman.

Eleven served in the House of Representatives: Baldwin, Carroll, Clymer, Dayton, Fitzsimons, Gilman, Madison, Charles Pinckney, Sherman, Spaight, and Williamson. Of these, Dayton served as Speaker. Four men (Bassett, Bedford, Brearly, and Few) served as Federal judges, and four more (Blair, Paterson, Rutledge, and Wilson) as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; Rutledge also held the position of Chief Justice.

Four others, King, the two Pinckneys, and Gouverneur Morris, undertook important diplomatic missions for the Nation. Many other persons held important State positions, including a large number as Governors (Blount, Franklin, Langdon, Livingston, Mifflin, Paterson, Charles Pinckney, and Spaight) and legislators.

And most of the signers contributed in many ways to the cultural life of their cities, communities, and States. Not surprisingly, many of their sons and other descendants were to occupy high positions in U.S. political and intellectual life.

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/constitution/bio.htm Last Updated: 29-Jul-2004 : National Park Service – Signers of the Constitution (Biographical Sketches)

What was the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence?

Ages of Revolution: How Old Were the Early American Leaders on July 4, 1776? It’s a simple question — perhaps so basic that it’s been overlooked. How old were the key participants of the American Revolution? Authors often reveal the age of a particular soldier, politician or other main character in books about the Revolution, but I routinely find myself wondering about their peers at the same time.

  • As it turns out, many Founding Fathers were less than 40 years old in 1776 with several qualifying as Founding Teenagers and Twentysomethings,
  • And though the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 44, more than a dozen of them were 35 or younger! “We tend to see them as much older than they were,” said David McCullough in a 2005 speech.

“Because we’re seeing them in portraits by Gilbert Stuart and others when they were truly the Founding Fathers — when they were president or chief justice of the Supreme Court and their hair, if it hadn’t turned white, was powdered white. We see the awkward teeth.

We see the elder statesmen. At the time of the Revolution, they were all young. It was a young man’s–young woman’s cause.” A list of ages of important American Revolution characters seems elementary enough, and certainly easy to assemble, yet I wasn’t able to find such a list anywhere I looked online.

And I don’t recall ever stumbling upon such an appendix while researching my book,, so I figured I’d just make one. This is a list of ages, from youngest to oldest, of key American Revolution participants, providing the precise age as of July 4, 1776.

  • If you spot any corrections or recommend any additions, let me know in the comments and I’ll continue modifying the list to make it more of a living resource.
  • Looking for someone particular and don’t want to waste your time browsing? Hold down Ctrl+F (Command+F on a Mac) and use the “Find” feature of your web browser.

Andrew Jackson, 9 (Major) Thomas Young, 12 Deborah Sampson, 15 James Armistead, 15 Sybil Ludington, 15 Joseph Plumb Martin, 15 Peter Salem, 16* Peggy Shippen, 16 Marquis de Lafayette, 18 James Monroe, 18 Charles Pinckney, 18 Henry Lee III, 20 Gilbert Stuart, 20 John Trumbull, 20 Aaron Burr, 20 John Marshall, 20 Nathan Hale, 21 Banastre Tarleton, 21 Alexander Hamilton, 21* John Laurens, 21 Benjamin Tallmadge, 22 Robert Townsend, 22 George Rogers Clark, 23 David Humphreys, 23 Gouveneur Morris, 24 Betsy Ross, 24 William Washington, 24 James Madison, 25 Henry Knox, 25 John Andre, 26 Thomas Lynch, Jr., 26^ Edward Rutledge, 26^ Abraham Woodhull, 26 Isaiah Thomas, 27 George Walton, 27*^ John Paul Jones, 28 Bernardo de Galvez, 29 Thomas Heyward, Jr., 29^ Robert R.

Who were the youngest and oldest signers of the Declaration of Independence?

7 Little-Known Facts about the Declaration of Independence UCF lecturer David Head barely needs notes to teach the course U.S. History: 1492-1877, He wrote a book on early America, edited the 300,000-word Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400 – 1900, and is currently in the middle of another three-year book project focused on George Washington.

The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4

Thomas Jefferson presented a draft of what would become the Declaration of Independence in the days before July 4, 1776. The full Congress debated, revised and edited the document on July 2 and July 3. By July 4, they ratified the wording. But the formal copy of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially finalized until two weeks later and it wasn’t signed until August 2.

Attendance for the signing wasn’t so great

With no FedEx available, the document stayed in Philadelphia until each of the 56 delegates could eventually travel there by horse. It would take six months for all the signatures to be compiled. Thomas McKean of Delaware was the last person to sign, possibly as late as 1777 (the actual date is disputed), though some copies of the declaration do not have McKean’s name on them.

  1. Two 26-year-olds from South Carolina were the youngest to sign the Declaration of Independence (Thomas Lynch Jr., and Edward Rutledge).
  2. Benjamin Franklin, 70, was the oldest.
  3. Eight of the men were born in the British Isles.
  4. They were lawyers, of course, but also businessmen, farmers, teachers, and a minister (John Witherspoon of New Jersey).

Two signers were inventors of similarly named musical instruments that never caught on (Francis Hopkinson with the Bellarmonic, and Benjamin Franklin with the glass armonica).

Nine of the signers died before independence was officially won

Between 1776 and 1783, when the states achieved independence, nine of the signers died — some in bizarre circumstances. Button Gwinnett of Georgia, died in a duel over conduct in a battle. And 26-year-old Thomas Lynch Jr., who was one of the two youngest to sign, drowned in a storm on his way to France.

There were other declarations of independence

In early 1776, there seemed to be no end to the war and little hope for reconciliation with England. So a number of localities and colonies produced their own statements about independence. The authors were judges, politicians, even laborers. Turns out, the sentiments in the official Declaration of Independence are very similar to the declarations at the local levels.

The first celebration was short-lived

As the declaration was being read to the Continental Army troops on July 9, they were on the verge of being routed by the British Army. The troops and their faithful had just enough time to tear down the two-ton statue of George III in New York and send it up the East River to Connecticut, where its pieces were melted into musket balls.

The document almost became worthless

The British had George Washington’s troops trapped in New York City — almost. Washington found an escape route, crossed the Delaware River and regrouped before going back on the offensive. Had the British been more aggressive and cut off Washington in Manhattan, the war could have been lost, the Declaration of Independence would have been nothing but evidence of treason — and there’s no telling what kind of history we’d be talking about today.

Who were the youngest signers of Declaration?

Accordion Benjamin Franklin was the oldest Signer at 70 years old. He was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. Eight Signers were born in Europe. James Smith, George Taylor and Matthew Thorton were born in Ireland. Robert Morris and Button Gwinnett were born in England.

  • James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland.
  • Finally, Francis Lewis was born in Wales.
  • Carter Braxton with 18 children from two marriages.Carter Braxton had 18 children.
  • Two of them were born in his first marriage to Judith Robinson.
  • After her death, Braxton was remarried to Elizabeth Corbin and had 16 more children.

Francis Hopkinson was a lawyer and an accomplished poet, satirist, harpsichordist, and composer. His song, “My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free,” a Thomas Parnell poem set to music, is the first known nonreligious song by a native-born American composer.

In an event of historic coincidence, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4,1826: the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It is rumored that late in the afternoon before John Adams died, unaware of the passing of Jefferson, he said “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the longest-lived and last surviving Signer.

He died in 1832 at the age of 95. Two: John Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister, and Lyman Hall was a pastor, teacher, and physician. Pennsylvania had the largest number of representatives with nine Signers. The second largest group came from Virginia, which had seven Signers.

  • Two of the Signers were 26 at the time of the signing.
  • Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749) edged out Thomas Lynch Jr.
  • August 5, 1749) by just over three months to be the youngest Signer.
  • Four signers were physicians, 24 were lawyers, and one was a printer.
  • The remaining signers were mostly merchants or plantation owners.

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