January 21, 2021: Fifty-six (56) members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. But they didn’t do so on the Fourth of July.
In fact, the Congress formally voted to declare independence on July 2, 1776. They approved the draft document prepared by Thomas Jefferson on July 4. That document was signed only by John Hancock and Charles Thompson. They were the president and secretary of the Congress.
The document was sent to a printer, and an enlarged copy of the document was signed on August 2.
Some delegates refused to sign the document. That included John Jay who would later become the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Others, such as Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, opposed the document but signed it to give the impression of unity.
As noted in an earlier Number of the Day, the formal Declaration of Independence was issued 15 months after the War for Independence began.
Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen's Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author. Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day is published by Ballotpedia weekdays at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author. Mr. Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People’s Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read Scott Rasmussen’s Reports — More Here.
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