Today in History: The Call for Independence

The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America
Today in History–April 12–the Library of Congress features the first call for American independence, made by North Carolina on this day in 1776. Referred to as the “Halifax Resolves“, the document listed grievances against Great Britain and encouraged the Continental Congress to push for sovereignty. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access more related resources.

Declaration of Independence texts

1776 references to the Declaration of Independence from the Journals of the Continental Congress

  • June 7 – Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution urging Congress to declare independence from Great Britain.
  • June 11 – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
  • June 28 – A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration of Independence was read in Congress.
  • July 1-4 – Congress debated and revised the Declaration of Independence.
  • July 2 – Congress declared independence by adopting the Lee Resolution.
  • July 4 – Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
  • July 4 – Congress ordered that the Declaration of Independence be printed (Dunlap Broadsides).
  • July 19 – Congress ordered the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
  • August 2 – The engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence was signed by most of the delegates. Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton all signed on a later date.

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