Declaration of Independence
by United States
contrib. by Thomas Jefferson
The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the United States formally broke ties with Great Britain. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, it traditionally marks the birth of the United States of America.
This work's page has more information about this work, including links to books on related topics and online books about this work.
The Declaration of Independence was originally issued as a handwritten single sheet. It has since been republished in various editions.
Online Editions and Versions
Original documents and context
- Declaration of Independence, by United States, contrib. by Thomas Jefferson (HTML and images with commentary at archives.gov). The US National Archives website has images of an original (now badly faded) copy and an clearer 1823 facsimile engraving, a transcription, and articles giving context to the Declaration.
Important early printings
- A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled (Philadelphia: Printed by John Dunlap, 1776), by United States, contrib. by Thomas JeffersonThe Dunlap broadside was the first printed edition of the Declaration, with the print run starting the evening of July 4, 1776, after the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress. Only about 2 dozen copies are known to still exist.
- A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled (Salem, MA: Printed by E. Russell, 1776), by United States, contrib. by Thomas Jefferson (page image at masshist.org). Another early broadside, this was printed to be read in churches throughout Massachusetts.
- The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America (Baltimore: Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard, 1777), by United States, contrib. by Thomas JeffersonThe Goddard broadside was the first printed edition to include the names of the signers (most of whom signed the Declaration in August of 1776). The list of signers does not include Thomas McKean, who may have signed after this edition was printed, if he was not simply omitted by mistake. This edition also notes that the Declaration was unanimous, New York having belatedly approved the Declaration on July 15, 1776.
Editions in other languages
Many multilingual or non-English editions of the Declaration have been published, often intended for immigrants to the US, or to promote democracy abroad. More of these editions can be found under "Document compilations" below.
Other notable historic editions
- Declaration of Independence, by United States, contrib. by Thomas Jefferson (Gutenberg text). First posted electronically in 1971 by Michael Hart, this was the first etext of Project Gutenberg, the oldest and one of the best-known free online book projects.
Other editions and versions
- Eine Erklärung durch die Repräsentanten der Bereinigten Staaten von America, im General-Congress Versammelt (first translation of the Declaration of Independence; in German; Philadelphia: Steiner and Cist, 1776; with added commentary in German and English), by United States, contrib. by Thomas Jefferson (page images and HTML in Germany)
- Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled (believed to be one of the Gill, Powars and Willis printings, 1776), by United States, contrib. by Thomas Jefferson (page image at masshist.org)
These are notable compilations of documents, often in multiple languages, that include the Declaration of Independence.
- The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States in German, French and English, in Parallel Columns (New York: Laidlaw Bros. and Co., c1888), by United States, trans. by A. H. Laidlaw
- The Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence in German, French and English, in Parallel Columns (second and revised edition; New York: Laidlaw Bros. and Co., c1888), by United States, trans. by A. H. Laidlaw (multiple formats at archive.org)
- The Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence in English, Hebrew and Jewish-German, With Explanatory Notes in Hebrew, in Parallel Columns (New York: J. D. Eisenstein, c1891), by United States, trans. by Judah David Eisenstein (page images at HathiTrust)
- Deklaratsiia Nezavisimosti; Stati Konfederatsii; Konstitutsiia Soedinennykh Shtatov (in Russian; New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1919), by United States, ed. by James Brown Scott (multiple formats at archive.org). Russian translations, with notes, of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution, published around the time of the Russian Revolution.
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