Timetable to Independence

June 7 - August 2, 1776

With the passage of time and the events of the war. the concept of independence gradually took root and became a growing popular movement. Many of those in the Congress saw the fulfillment of a dream of liberty in fighting for independence. Below is a list of chronological events and how they relate to the moves for independence that took place in the hot summer of 1776.

The Road to Independence, 1776

June 7
In Congress, Richard Henry Lee introduces a resolution, "That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, free and independent states."
June 11
A committee is selected to write a formal declaration of the reasons for independence. Members include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.
July 1
Debate on Lee's resolution begins in Congress.
July 2
Twelve delegations vote to adopt Lee's resolution. New York delegation abstains.
July 3
The Declaration of Independence is read in Congress and debate begins on the document. Wording of the document is of special concern.
July 4
The Declaration of Independence is adopted by twelve of the thirteen delegations. Again, New York abstains. On this date, only John Hancock signs the Declaration.
July 8
In Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell rings signaling adoption by Congress of the Declaration.
July 15
Belatedly, New York delegation votes to adopt the Declaration of Independence.
August 2
In a formal signing ceremony, fifty members of the Second Continental Congress sign the Declaration of Independence.

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