Signers of the Declaration of Independence

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Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Founding Fathers and Declaration of Independence
 

List of signers of the Declaration of Independence

Fifty-six delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia signed the United States Declaration of Independence, a proclamation asserting that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. The wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress on July 4, 1776.

Name

State Rep.

Date of Birth

Birthplace

Age in 1776

Occupation

Number of Marriages

Number of Children

Date of Death

Age at Death

Adams, John

MA

10/30/1735

Quincy, MA

40

Lawyer

1

5

7/4/1826

90

Adams, Samuel

MA

9/27/1722

Boston, MA

53

Merchant

2

2

10/2/1803

81

Bartlett, Josiah

NH

11/21/1729

Amesbury, MA

46

Physician

1

12

5/19/1795

65

Braxton, Carter

VA

9/10/1736

Newington, VA

39

Plantation Owner

2

18

10/10/1797

61

Carroll, Charles of Carrollton

MD

9/19/1737

Annapolis, MD

38

Merchant, Plantation Owner

1

7

11/14/1832

95

Chase, Samuel

MD

4/17/1741

Somerset Co., MD

35

Lawyer

2

4

6/19/1811

70

Clark, Abraham

NJ

2/15/1726

Elizabethtown, NJ

50

Lawyer, Surveyer

1

10

9/15/1794

68

Clymer, George

PA

3/16/1739

Philadelphia, PA

37

Merchant

1

8

1/24/1813

73

Ellery, William

RI

12/22/1727

Newport, RI

48

Lawyer, Merchant

2

16

2/15/1820

92

Floyd, William

NJ

12/17/1734

Brookhaven, NY

41

Land Speculator

2

3

8/4/1821

86

Franklin, Benjamin

PA

1/17/1706

Boston, MA

70

Scientist, Printer

1

3

4/17/1790

84

Gerry, Elbridge

MA

7/17/1744

Marblehead, MA

32

Merchant

1

7

11/23/1814

70

Gwinnett, Button

GA

c. 1735

Gloucester, England

41

Merchant, Plantation Owner

1

3

5/15/1777

42

Hall, Lyman

GA

4/12/1724

Wallingford, CT

52

Physician, Minister

2

1

10/19/1790

66

Hancock, John

MA

1/12/1737

Quincy, MA

40

Merchant

1

2

10/8/1793

56

Harrison, Benjamin

VA

4/7/1726

Charles City Co., VA

50

Plantation Owner, Farmer

1

7

4/24/1791

65

Hart, John

NJ

c. 1711

Hunterdon Co., NJ

65

Land owner

1

13

5/11/1779

68

Hewes, Joseph

NC

1/23/1730

Kingston, NJ

46

Merchant

-

-

11/10/1779

49

Heyward Jr., Thomas

SC

7/28/1746

St. Helena Parish, SC

30

Lawyer, Plantation Owner

2

8

3/6/1809

62

Hooper, William

NC

6/17/1742

Boston, MA

34

Lawyer

1

3

10/14/1790

48

Hopkins, Stephen

RI

3/7/1707

Providence, RI

69

Merchant

2

7

4/13/1785

78

Hopkinson, Francis

NJ

10/2/1737

Philadelphia, PA

38

Lawyer, Musician

1

5

5/9/1791

53

Huntington, Samuel

CT

7/3/1731

Windham, CT

45

Lawyer

1

2

1/5/1796

64

Jefferson, Thomas

VA

4/13/1743

Albemarle Co., VA

33

Lawyer, Plantation Owner, Scientist

1

6

7/4/1826

83

Lee, Francis Lightfoot

VA

10/14/1734

Mt. Pleasant, VA

41

Plantation Owner

1

0

1/11/1797

62

Lee, Richard Henry

VA

1/20/1732

Stratford, VA

44

Plantation Owner, Merchant

2

6

6/19/1794

62

Lewis, Francis

NY

3/21/1713

Llandaff, Wales

63

Merchant

1

7

12/30/1802

89

Livingston, Philip

NY

1/15/1716

Albany, NY

60

Merchant

1

9

6/12/1778

62

Lynch Jr., Thomas

SC

8/5/1749

Prince George’s Parrish, SC

26

Lawyer

1

0

c. 1779

30

McKean, Thomas

DE

3/19/1735

Chester Co., PA

42

Lawyer

2

11

6/24/1817

83

Middleton, Arthur

SC

6/26/1742

Charleston, SC

34

Plantation Owner

1

9

1/1/1787

44

Morris, Lewis

NY

4/8/1726

West Chester Co., NY

50

Plantation Owner

1

10

1/22/1798

71

Morris, Robert

PA

1/31/1734

Liverpool, England

42

Merchant, Land Speculator

1

7

5/8/1806

72

Morton, John

PA

c. 1724

Ridley Township, PA

52

Farmer

1

8

c. 1777

53

Nelson Jr., Thomas

VA

12/26/1738

Yorktown, VA

37

Merchant, Plantation Owner

1

13

1/4/1789

50

Paca, William

MD

10/31/1740

Abington, MD

35

Lawyer, Plantation Owner

2

5

10/13/1799

58

Paine, Robert Treat

MA

3/11/1731

Boston, MA

45

Lawyer, Scientist

1

8

5/12/1814

83

Penn, John

NC

5/17/1741

Carolina Co., VA

36

Lawyer

1

3

9/14/1788

48

Read, George

DE

9/18/1733

Northeast MD

42

Lawyer

1

5

9/21/1798

65

Rodney, Caesar

DE

10/7/1728

Dover, DE

47

Plantation Owner, Military Officer

0

0

6/29/1784

55

Ross, George

PA

5/10/1730

New Castle, DE

46

Lawyer

1

3

7/14/1779

49

Rush, Benjamin Dr.

PA

1/4/1746

Philadelphia, PA

30

Physician

1

13

4/19/1813

67

Rutledge, Edward

SC

11/23/1749

Christ Church Parish, SC

26

Lawyer, Plantation Owner

2

3

1/23/1800

50

Sherman, Roger

CT

4/19/1721

Newton, MA

55

Lawyer

2

15

7/23/1793

72

Smith, James

PA

c. 1719

Northern Ireland

57

Lawyer

1

5

7/11/1806

87

Stockton, Richard

NJ

10/1/1730

Princeton, NJ

45

Lawyer

1

6

2/28/1781

50

Stone, Thomas

MD

c. 1743

Charles Co., MD

33

Lawyer

1

3

10/5/1787

44

Taylor, George

PA

c. 1716

Ireland

60

Merchant

1

2

2/23/1781

65

Thornton, Matthew

NH

c. 1714

Ireland

62

Physician

1

5

6/24/1803

89

Walton, George

GA

c. 1741

Cumberland Co., VA

35

Lawyer

1

2

2/2/1804

63

Whipple, William

NH

1/14/1730

Kittery, ME

46

Merchant

1

0

11/28/1785

55

Williams, William

CT

4/18/1731

Lebannon, CT

45

Merchant

1

3

8/2/1811

80

Wilson, James

PA

9/14/1742

Carskerdo, Scotland

33

Lawyer

2

7

8/21/1798

55

Witherspoon, John

NJ

2/5/1723

Gifford, Scotland

53

Minister

2

12

11/15/1794

71

Wolcott, Oliver

CT

11/20/1726

Windsor, CT

49

Lawyer

1

4

12/1/1797

71

Wythe, George

VA

c. 1726

Elizabeth City Co., VA

50

Lawyer

2

1

6/8/1806

80

Information obtained from: American Council of Learned Societies. American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999; Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume 1607-1896. Chicago: The A.N. Marquis Company, 1963.

Recommended Reading: The Declaration of Independence: The Story Behind America's Founding Document and the Men Who Created It (Hardcover). Description: The fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, the foundation of America's freedom, created a nation and launched a freedom movement the world had never seen. Today it seems inevitable that the thirteen colonies would declare their independence from Britain. And yet in 1776 it was not so. Here is the extraordinary story of drama and daring, sacrifice and selflessness, danger and potential death. The signers concluded their work with a plea for Providential protection and a selfless vow to sacrifice "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." Continued below...

Many of them did just that to create a country in which "all men are created equal, . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Award-winning historian Rod Gragg brings to life the drama of 1776 like no other book. The removable artifacts, including a full-size (24-1/4" x 29-1/2") replica of the Declaration of Independence, bring to life the events of 1776 like no other presentation.

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Related Reading:
 

Declaration of Independence: July 4, 1776

Recommended Viewing: John Adams (HBO Miniseries) (2008) (501 minutes). Description: Based on David McCullough's bestselling biography, the HBO miniseries John Adams is the furthest thing from a starry-eyed look at America's founding fathers and the brutal path to independence. Adams (Paul Giamatti), second president of the United States, is portrayed as a skilled orator and principled attorney whose preference for justice over anti-English passions earns enemies. But he also gains the esteem of the first national government of the United States, i.e., the Continental Congress, which seeks non-firebrands capable of making a reasoned if powerful case for America's break from England's monarchy. The first thing one notices about John Adams' dramatizations of congress' proceedings, and the fervent pro-independence violence in the streets of Boston and elsewhere, is that America's roots don't look pretty or idealized here. Some horrendous things happen in the name of protest, driving Adams to push the cause of independence in a legitimate effort to get on with a revolutionary war under the command of George Washington. But the process isn't easy: not every one of the 13 colonies-turned-states is ready to incur the wrath of England, and behind-the-scenes negotiations prove as much a part of 18th century congressional sessions as they do today. Continued below...

Besides this peek into a less-romanticized version of the past, John Adams is also a story of the man himself. Adams' frustration at being forgotten or overlooked at critical junctures of America's early development--sent abroad for years instead of helping to draft the U.S. constitution--is detailed. So is his dismay that the truth of what actually transpired leading to the signing of the Declaration of Independence has been slowly forgotten and replaced by a rosier myth. But above all, John Adams is the story of two key ties: Adams' 54-year marriage to Abigail Adams (Laura Linney), every bit her husband's intellectual equal and anchor, and his difficult, almost symbiotic relationship with Thomas Jefferson (Stephen Dillane) over decades. Giamatti, of course, has to carry much of the drama, and if he doesn't always seem quite believable in the series' first half, he becomes increasingly excellent at the point where an aging Adams becomes bitter over his place in history. Linney is marvelous, as is Dillane, Sarah Polley as daughter Nabby, Danny Huston as cousin Samuel Adams, and above all Tom Wilkinson as a complex but indispensable Ben Franklin.

 

Recommended Reading: American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic (Hardcover). Review: From the prizewinning author of the best-selling Founding Brothers and American Sphinx, a masterly and highly ironic examination of the founding years of our country. The last quarter of the eighteenth century remains the most politically creative era in American history, when a dedicated and determined group of men undertook a bold experiment in political ideals. It was a time of triumphs; yet, as Joseph J. Ellis makes clear, it was also a time of tragedies—all of which contributed to the shaping of our burgeoning nation. Continued below...

From the first shots fired at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, Ellis guides us through the decisive issues of the nation’s founding, and illuminates the emerging philosophies, shifting alliances, and personal and political foibles of our now iconic leaders—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams. He casts an incisive eye on the founders’ achievements, arguing that the American Revolution was, paradoxically, an evolution—and that part of what made it so extraordinary was the gradual pace at which it occurred. He shows us why the fact that it was brought about by a group, rather than by a single individual, distinguished it from the bloodier revolutions of other countries, and ultimately played a key role in determining its success. He explains how the idea of a strong federal government, championed by Washington, was eventually embraced by the American people, the majority of whom had to be won over, as they feared an absolute power reminiscent of the British Empire. And he details the emergence of the two-party system—then a political novelty—which today stands as the founders’ most enduring legacy. But Ellis is equally incisive about their failures, and he makes clear how their inability to abolish slavery and to reach a just settlement with the Native Americans has played an equally important role in shaping our national character. He demonstrates how these misjudgments, now so abundantly evident, were not necessarily inevitable. We learn of the negotiations between Henry Knox and Alexander McGillivray, the most talented Indian statesman of his time, which began in good faith and ended in disaster. And we come to understand how a political solution to slavery required the kind of robust federal power that the Jeffersonians viewed as a betrayal of their most deeply held principles. With eloquence and insight, Ellis strips the mythic veneer of the revolutionary generation to reveal men both human and inspired, possessed of both brilliance and blindness. American Creation is a book that delineates an era of flawed greatness, at a time when understanding our origins is more important than ever. About the Author: Joseph J. Ellis received the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers and the National Book Award for his portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, and their youngest son, Alex.

 

Recommended Reading: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Review: In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? In Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis reveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic. Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including a secret dinner at which the seat of the nation's capital was determined--in exchange for support of Hamilton's financial plan; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address; and the Hamilton and Burr duel. Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. Continued below...

In a fascinating chapter on the renewed friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the end of their lives, Ellis points out the fundamental differences between the Republicans, who saw the Revolution as a liberating act and hold the Declaration of Independence most sacred, and the Federalists, who saw the revolution as a step in the building of American nationhood and hold the Constitution most dear. Throughout the text, Ellis explains the personal, face-to-face nature of early American politics--and notes that the members of the revolutionary generation were conscious of the fact that they were establishing precedents on which future generations would rely. In Founding Brothers, Ellis (whose American Sphinx won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1997) has written an elegant and engaging narrative, sure to become a classic. Highly recommended.

 

Recommended Viewing: Founding Brothers (A&E) (200 minutes). Description: The political wrangles of a fledgling country may sound dull compared to the drama of a war, but the early history of the United States only gets more fascinating as the Revolutionary War is left behind. Founding Brothers, a documentary from the History Channel, examines the struggle to not only establish democracy, but to give it the economic strength and governmental structure that will allow it to survive and thrive. George Washington grappled not only with politics, but with questions of style and propriety--how should a president, as opposed to a king, behave? Understanding the conflicts between Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson will illuminate ideas that have shaped the government of the U.S. ever since. Continued below…

Founding Brothers provides a wealth of portraits and illustrations from the time, as well as discreet dramatizations, that bring the rise of party politics to life, humanizing these historical figures with tales of the scandals and squabbles they faced as well as their political achievements. An excellent introduction to the roots of the American experiment, and a bracing illustration of what Jefferson meant when he said of the presidency, "No man will bring out of that office the reputation which carried him into it."

 

Recommended Viewing: The American Revolution (History Channel) (482 minutes). Description: Revisit the birth of a nation in this truly definitive look at America's fight for independence and its world-changing rise to glory. The American Revolution features ten powerful documentaries--more than eight hours of essential programming by THE HISTORY CHANNEL® and A&E on DVD for the first time. From the Declaration of Independence to the Treaty of Paris, these are the stories and events surrounding the remarkable achievements of heroic individuals seized by the epic forces of history. Continued below...

Hear the words of the founding fathers and other key figures, as read by leading actors such as Kelsey Grammar (TV’s Frasier) and Michael Learned (TV’s The Waltons). Thrilling re-enactments of great battles, compelling period images, rare archival material, and commentary by leading historians bring the past vividly alive. Between Bunker Hill and Yorktown, from Ben Franklin's masterful diplomacy to Benedict Arnold's deceit and tragedy, The American Revolution presents a sweeping canvas of historical programming at its comprehensive best.
 

Recommended Reading: 1776, by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster). Description: Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. Continued below...

He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war. The redcoat retreat from Boston, for example, was particularly humiliating for the British, while the minor American victory at Trenton was magnified despite its limited strategic importance. Some of the strongest passages in 1776 are the revealing and well-rounded portraits of the Georges on both sides of the Atlantic. King George III, so often portrayed as a bumbling, arrogant fool, is given a more thoughtful treatment by McCullough, who shows that the king considered the colonists to be petulant subjects without legitimate grievances--an attitude that led him to underestimate the will and capabilities of the Americans. At times he seems shocked that war was even necessary. The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. Perhaps more than any other man, he realized how fortunate they were to merely survive the year, and he willingly lays the responsibility for their good fortune in the hands of God rather than his own. Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian.

 

Recommended Viewing: The History Channel Presents The Revolution (A&E) (600 minutes). Review: They came of age in a new world amid intoxicating and innovative ideas about human and civil rights diverse economic systems and self-government. In a few short years these men and women would transform themselves into architects of the future through the building of a new nation – “a nation unlike any before.” From the roots of the rebellion and the signing of the Declaration of Independence to victory on the battlefield at Yorktown and the adoption of The United States Constitution, THE REVOLUTION tells the remarkable story of this pivotal era in history. Venturing beyond the conventional list of generals and politicians, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® introduces the full range of individuals who helped shape this great conflict including some of the war’s most influential unsung heroes. Continued below...

Through sweeping cinematic recreations intimate biographical investigations and provocative political military and economic analysis the historic ideas and themes that transformed treasonous acts against the British into noble acts of courage both on and off the battlefield come to life in this dramatic and captivating program. This TEN HOUR DVD Features: History in the Making: The Revolution Behind-the-Scenes Featurette; Interactive Menus; Scene Selections.
 

Recommended Viewing: The History Channel Presents The Presidents (A&E) (360 minutes). Review: THE PRESIDENTS is an unprecedented eight-part survey of the personal lives and legacies of the remarkable men who have presided over the Oval Office. From George Washington to George W. Bush, THE PRESIDENTS gathers together vivid snapshots of all 43 Commanders-in-Chief who have guided America throughout its history--their powerful personalities, weaknesses, and major achievements or historical insignificance. Based on the book To the Best of My Ability, edited by Pulitzer Prize-winner James McPherson, THE PRESIDENTS features rare and unseen photographs and footage, unexpected insight and trivia from journalists, scholars, and politicians such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, Bob Dole, and former President Jimmy Carter. Continued below...

Viewed within the changing contexts of each administration, the Presidency has never seemed more compelling and human. Narrated by Edward Herrmann (The Aviator), this three-DVD (6 HOURS) set is a proud addition to the award-winning documentary tradition of THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. DVD Features: Feature-length Bonus Program "All The Presidents' Wives"; Timeline of U.S. Presidents; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection. (6 HOURS); Highly Recommended! Great for the home, family, and classroom…

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