Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Today is the nation’s birthday. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in May 1776.  From that meeting, five men were chosen committee to draft a document that would declare the independence of a new nation.

John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson were appointed…and Jefferson remembered, “(the committee) unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draft.  I consented; I drew it.”  The 33-year-old Jefferson worked for two and a half weeks in a rented room on the document. 

When it satisfied the committee they took it to Congress.  It was revised by Congress during the first week of July…and sign it on July 4, 1776.


(Photo courtesy of The Library of Congress)