On June 7, Richard Henry Lee
of Virginia moved in the Continental Congress that "These United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. Three days later, Congress moved to name special committee to draft a declaration supporting Lee's resolution. It named John Adams
, Benjamin Franklin
, Thomas Jefferson
, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman to the committee. The writing was delegated primarily to Jefferson.
On July 2, Congress approved Lee's resolution and on July 4, it adopted the final draft of the declaration. After the New York delegation, which had not voted on July 4, announced its support on July 15, Congress had the declaration written on parchment. Fifty members of Congress signed it on August 2, 1776.
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