who signed the constitution and declaration

who signed the constitution and declaration
who signed the constitution and declaration

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

September 17, 2021 by NCC Staff

 

The Constitution is our most enduring document, but not everything you read online about the Constitution is accurate! Here are some of the top myths about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers still out there on blogs and websites. To be clear, these myths are not about interpretations of the Constitution; they center on people and events related to the founding document.

who signed the constitution and declaration

Myth one: The Constitution was written on hemp paper

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written on parchment. The point of debate is that some working drafts of the documents might have been composed on paper made from hemp, which was widely used in that period.

Myth two: Thomas Jefferson signed the Constitution

Thomas Jefferson didn’t sign the Constitution. This is the most popular myth at the National Constitution Center, especially when visitors enter our Signers’ Hall, comprised of statues of the Constitution’s different signers—and ask where the Jefferson statue is. In 1787, Jefferson was in Paris as the United States’ envoy, and he missed the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

Myth three: John Adams also signed the Constitution

Like Jefferson, Adams was in service for his country overseas when the Constitution was signed. He was in London as the United States minister to Great Britain.

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  • Myth four: The same Founders who wrote the Declaration wrote the Constitution

    Only six Founders signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Read, James Wilson, and Roger Sherman.

    Myth five: The Constitution has 39 signatures

    It is true that there were 39 delegate signatures on the Constitution on September 17, 1787, but the Convention’s secretary, William Jackson, also signed the document. Jackson was picked over Benjamin Franklin’s grandson as the Convention secretary.

    Myth six: The Constitution says “All Men Are Created Equal”

    That phrase is in the Declaration of Independence. The original Constitution punted on the issue of slavery and included provisions such as the Three-Fifths Clause, which counted each enslaved person as three-fifths of a person to determine representation in Congress. However, the 13th and 14th Amendments ratified after the Civil War made the “Three-Fifths Compromise” obsolete and wrote the Declaration’s promise of equality into the Constitution.

    Myth seven: An enthusiastic country quickly embraced the Constitution

    After the delegates signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787, five states immediately ratified it. But then the ratification process slowed down as the Anti-Federalists, who feared a strong central government and demanded a Bill of Rights, bitterly fought the Constitution’s ratification at state conventions. It took until June 21, 1788, for New Hampshire, as the ninth state approving ratification, to make the Constitution a reality and to put it into effect.

    Myth eight: The Convention delegates were unanimous in approving the document

    When the Constitutional Convention ended in 1787, 42 delegates gathered at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) for the signing ceremony. Among that group, 38 delegates signed the document, with delegate George Read also signing for John Dickinson, who was ill. Three Founders—Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph—refused to sign the Constitution, unhappy with the final document for various reasons including a lack of a Bill of Rights.

    Myth nine: All 13 states took part in writing the Constitution

    There were 13 states in 1787, but Rhode Island didn’t send a delegation to Philadelphia. It feared the new federal government would dominate the states and thus rejected ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Rhode Island finally approved the Constitution on May 29, 1790, by a margin of two votes.

    Filed Under: Founding Fathers

    On Lincoln’s landmark address and its influence on constitutional and American history.

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    by Jeffrey Rosen and David Rubenstein

    At the National Constitution Center, you will find rare copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These are the three most important documents in American history. But why are they important, and what are their similarities and differences? And how did each document, in turn, influence the next in America’s ongoing quest for liberty and equality?

    There are some clear similarities among the three documents. All have preambles. All were drafted by people of similar backgrounds, generally educated white men of property. The Declaration and Constitution were drafted by a congress and a convention that met in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia (now known as Independence Hall) in 1776 and 1787 respectively. The Bill of Rights was proposed by the Congress that met in Federal Hall in New York City in 1789. Thomas Jefferson was the principal drafter of the Declaration and James Madison of the Bill of Rights; Madison, along with Gouverneur Morris and James Wilson, was also one of the principal architects of the Constitution.

    Most importantly, the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are based on the idea that all people have certain fundamental rights that governments are created to protect. Those rights include common law rights, which come from British sources like the Magna Carta, or natural rights, which, the Founders believed, came from God. The Founders believed that natural rights are inherent in all people by virtue of their being human and that certain of these rights are unalienable, meaning they cannot be surrendered to government under any circumstances.

    At the same time, the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are different kinds of documents with different purposes. The Declaration was designed to justify breaking away from a government; the Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed to establish a government. The Declaration stands on its own—it has never been amended—while the Constitution has been amended 27 times. (The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights.) The Declaration and Bill of Rights set limitations on government; the Constitution was designed both to create an energetic government and also to constrain it. The Declaration and Bill of Rights reflect a fear of an overly centralized government imposing its will on the people of the states; the Constitution was designed to empower the central government to preserve the blessings of liberty for “We the People of the United States.” In this sense, the Declaration and Bill of Rights, on the one hand, and the Constitution, on the other, are mirror images of each other.who signed the constitution and declaration

    Despite these similarities and differences, the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are, in many ways, fused together in the minds of Americans, because they represent what is best about America. They are symbols of the liberty that allows us to achieve success and of the equality that ensures that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. The Declaration of Independence made certain promises about which liberties were fundamental and inherent, but those liberties didn’t become legally enforceable until they were enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In other words, the fundamental freedoms of the American people were alluded to in the Declaration of Independence, implicit in the Constitution, and enumerated in the Bill of Rights. But it took the Civil War, which President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address called “a new birth of freedom,” to vindicate the Declaration’s famous promise that “all men are created equal.” And it took the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War, to vindicate James Madison’s initial hope that not only the federal government but also the states would be constitutionally required to respect fundamental liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights—a process that continues today.

    Why did Jefferson draft the Declaration of Independence?

    When the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in 1775, it was far from clear that the delegates would pass a resolution to separate from Great Britain. To persuade them, someone needed to articulate why the Americans were breaking away. Congress formed a committee to do just that; members included John Adams from Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman from Connecticut, Roger Livingston from New York, and Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, who at age 33 was one of the youngest delegates.

    Although Jefferson disputed his account, John Adams later recalled that he had persuaded Jefferson to write the draft because Jefferson had the fewest enemies in Congress and was the best writer. (Jefferson would have gotten the job anyway—he was elected chair of the committee.) Jefferson had 17 days to produce the document and reportedly wrote a draft in a day or two. In a rented room not far from the State House, he wrote the Declaration with few books and pamphlets beside him, except for a copy of George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights and the draft Virginia Constitution, which Jefferson had written himself.

    The Declaration of Independence has three parts. It has a preamble, which later became the most famous part of the document but at the time was largely ignored. It has a second part that lists the sins of the King of Great Britain, and it has a third part that declares independence from Britain and that all political connections between the British Crown and the “Free and Independent States” of America should be totally dissolved.

    The preamble to the Declaration of Independence contains the entire theory of American government in a single, inspiring passage:

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  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    When Jefferson wrote the preamble, it was largely an afterthought. Why is it so important today? It captured perfectly the essence of the ideals that would eventually define the United States. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” Jefferson began, in one of the most famous sentences in the English language. How could Jefferson write this at a time that he and other Founders who signed the Declaration owned slaves? The document was an expression of an ideal. In his personal conduct, Jefferson violated it. But the ideal—“that all men are created equal”—came to take on a life of its own and is now considered the most perfect embodiment of the American creed.

    When Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during the Civil War in November 1863, several months after the Union Army defeated Confederate forces at the Battle of Gettysburg, he took Jefferson’s language and transformed it into constitutional poetry. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” Lincoln declared. “Four score and seven years ago” refers to the year 1776, making clear that Lincoln was referring not to the Constitution but to Jefferson’s Declaration. Lincoln believed that the “principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society,” as he wrote shortly before the anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday in 1859. Three years later, on the anniversary of George Washington’s birthday in 1861, Lincoln said in a speech at what by that time was being called “Independence Hall,” “I would rather be assassinated on this spot than to surrender” the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

    It took the Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history, for Lincoln to begin to make Jefferson’s vision of equality a constitutional reality. After the war, the Declaration’s vision was embodied in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which formally ended slavery, guaranteed all persons the “equal protection of the laws,” and gave African-American men the right to vote. At the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, when supporters of gaining greater rights for women met, they, too, used the Declaration of Independence as a guide for drafting their Declaration of Sentiments. (Their efforts to achieve equal suffrage culminated in 1920 in the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.) And during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his famous address at the Lincoln Memorial, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men—yes, black men as well as white men—would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    In addition to its promise of equality, Jefferson’s preamble is also a promise of liberty. Like the other Founders, he was steeped in the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, in philosophers such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, Francis Hutcheson, and Montesquieu. All of them believed that people have certain unalienable and inherent rights that come from God, not government, or come simply from being human. They also believed that when people form governments, they give those governments control over certain natural rights to ensure the safety and security of other rights. Jefferson, George Mason, and the other Founders frequently spoke of the same set of rights as being natural and unalienable. They included the right to worship God “according to the dictates of conscience,” the right of “enjoyment of life and liberty,” “the means of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety,” and, most important of all, the right of a majority of the people to “alter and abolish” their government whenever it threatened to invade natural rights rather than protect them.

    In other words, when Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and began to articulate some of the rights that were ultimately enumerated in the Bill of Rights, he wasn’t inventing these rights out of thin air. On the contrary, 10 American colonies between 1606 and 1701 were granted charters that included representative assemblies and promised the colonists the basic rights of Englishmen, including a version of the promise in the Magna Carta that no freeman could be imprisoned or destroyed “except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This legacy kindled the colonists’ hatred of arbitrary authority, which allowed the King to seize their bodies or property on his own say-so. In the revolutionary period, the galvanizing examples of government overreaching were the “general warrants” and “writs of assistance” that authorized the King’s agents to break into the homes of scores of innocent citizens in an indiscriminate search for the anonymous authors of pamphlets criticizing the King. Writs of assistance, for example, authorized customs officers “to break open doors, Chests, Trunks, and other Packages” in a search for stolen goods, without specifying either the goods to be seized or the houses to be searched. In a famous attack on the constitutionality of writs of assistance in 1761, prominent lawyer James Otis said, “It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.”

    As members of the Continental Congress contemplated independence in May and June of 1776, many colonies were dissolving their charters with England. As the actual vote on independence approached, a few colonies were issuing their own declarations of independence and bills of rights. The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, written by George Mason, began by declaring that “all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” 

    When Jefferson wrote his famous preamble, he was restating, in more eloquent language, the philosophy of natural rights expressed in the Virginia Declaration that the Founders embraced. And when Jefferson said, in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, that “[w]hen in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,” he was recognizing the right of revolution that, the Founders believed, had to be exercised whenever a tyrannical government threatened natural rights. That’s what Jefferson meant when he said Americans had to assume “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

    The Declaration of Independence was a propaganda document rather than a legal one. It didn’t give any rights to anyone. It was an advertisement about why the colonists were breaking away from England. Although there was no legal reason to sign the Declaration, Jefferson and the other Founders signed it because they wanted to “mutually pledge” to each other that they were bound to support it with “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Their signatures were courageous because the signers realized they were committing treason: according to legend, after affixing his flamboyantly large signature John Hancock said that King George—or the British ministry—would be able to read his name without spectacles. But the courage of the signers shouldn’t be overstated: the names of the signers of the Declaration weren’t published until after General George Washington won crucial battles at Trenton and Princeton and it was clear that the war for independence was going well.

    What is the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?

    In the years between 1776 and 1787, most of the 13 states drafted constitutions that contained a declaration of rights within the body of the document or as a separate provision at the beginning, many of them listing the same natural rights that Jefferson had embraced in the Declaration. When it came time to form a central government in 1776, the Continental Congress began to create a weak union governed by the Articles of Confederation. (The Articles of Confederation was sent to the states for ratification in 1777; it was formally adopted in 1781.) The goal was to avoid a powerful federal government with the ability to invade rights and to threaten private property, as the King’s agents had done with the hated general warrants and writs of assistance. But the Articles of Confederation proved too weak for bringing together a fledgling nation that needed both to wage war and to manage the economy. Supporters of a stronger central government, like James Madison, lamented the inability of the government under the Articles to curb the excesses of economic populism that were afflicting the states, such as Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts, where farmers shut down the courts demanding debt relief. As a result, Madison and others gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 with the goal of creating a stronger, but still limited, federal government.

    The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House, in the room where the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Jefferson, who was in France at the time, wasn’t among them. After four months of debate, the delegates produced a constitution.

    During the final days of debate, delegates George Mason and Elbridge Gerry objected that the Constitution, too, should include a bill of rights to protect the fundamental liberties of the people against the newly empowered president and Congress. Their motion was swiftly—and unanimously—defeated; a debate over what rights to include could go on for weeks, and the delegates were tired and wanted to go home. The Constitution was approved by the Constitutional Convention and sent to the states for ratification without a bill of rights.

    During the ratification process, which took around 10 months (the Constitution took effect when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify in late June 1788; the 13th state, Rhode Island, would not join the union until May 1790), many state ratifying conventions proposed amendments specifying the rights that Jefferson had recognized in the Declaration and that they protected in their own state constitutions. James Madison and other supporters of the Constitution initially resisted the need for a bill of rights as either unnecessary (because the federal government was granted no power to abridge individual liberty) or dangerous (since it implied that the federal government had the power to infringe liberty in the first place). In the face of a groundswell of popular demand for a bill of rights, Madison changed his mind and introduced a bill of rights in Congress on June 8, 1789.

    Madison was least concerned by “abuse in the executive department,” which he predicted would be the weakest branch of government. He was more worried about abuse by Congress, because he viewed the legislative branch as “the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least control.” (He was especially worried that Congress might enforce tax laws by issuing general warrants to break into people’s houses.) But in his view “the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body”—in other words, local majorities who would take over state governments and threaten the fundamental rights of minorities, including creditors and property holders. For this reason, the proposed amendment that Madison considered “the most valuable amendment in the whole list” would have prohibited the state governments from abridging freedom of conscience, speech, and the press, as well as trial by jury in criminal cases. Madison’s favorite amendment was eliminated by the Senate and not resurrected until after the Civil War, when the 14th Amendment required state governments to respect basic civil and economic liberties.

    In the end, by pulling from the amendments proposed by state ratifying conventions and Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, Madison proposed 19 amendments to the Constitution. Congress approved 12 amendments to be sent to the states for ratification. Only 10 of the amendments were ultimately ratified in 1791 and became the Bill of Rights. The first of the two amendments that failed was intended to guarantee small congressional districts to ensure that representatives remained close to the people. The other would have prohibited senators and representatives from giving themselves a pay raise unless it went into effect at the start of the next Congress. (This latter amendment was finally ratified in 1992 and became the 27th Amendment.)

    To address the concern that the federal government might claim that rights not listed in the Bill of Rights were not protected, Madison included what became the Ninth Amendment, which says the “enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” To ensure that Congress would be viewed as a government of limited rather than unlimited powers, he included the 10th Amendment, which says the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Because of the first Congress’s focus on protecting people from the kinds of threats to liberty they had experienced at the hands of King George, the rights listed in the first eight amendments of the Bill of Rights apply only to the federal government, not to the states or to private companies. (One of the amendments submitted by the North Carolina ratifying convention but not included by Madison in his proposal to Congress would have prohibited Congress from establishing monopolies or companies with “exclusive advantages of commerce.”)

    But the protections in the Bill of Rights—forbidding Congress from abridging free speech, for example, or conducting unreasonable searches and seizures—were largely ignored by the courts for the first 100 years after the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Like the preamble to the Declaration, the Bill of Rights was largely a promissory note. It wasn’t until the 20th century, when the Supreme Court began vigorously to apply the Bill of Rights against the states, that the document became the centerpiece of contemporary struggles over liberty and equality. The Bill of Rights became a document that defends not only majorities of the people against an overreaching federal government but also minorities against overreaching state governments. Today, there are debates over whether the federal government has become too powerful in threatening fundamental liberties. There are also debates about how to protect the least powerful in society against the tyranny of local majorities.

    What do we know about the documentary history of the rare copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights on display at the National Constitution Center?

    Generally, when people think about the original Declaration, they are referring to the official engrossed —or final—copy now in the National Archives. That is the one that John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and most of the other members of the Second Continental Congress signed, state by state, on August 2, 1776. John Dunlap, a Philadelphia printer, published the official printing of the Declaration ordered by Congress, known as the Dunlap Broadside, on the night of July 4th and the morning of July 5th. About 200 copies are believed to have been printed. At least 27 are known to survive.

    The document on display at the National Constitution Center is known as a Stone Engraving, after the engraver William J. Stone, whom then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned in 1820 to create a precise facsimile of the original engrossed version of the Declaration. That manuscript had become faded and worn after nearly 45 years of travel with Congress between Philadelphia, New York City, and eventually Washington, D.C., among other places, including Leesburg, Virginia, where it was rolled up and hidden during the British invasion of the capital in 1814.

    To ensure that future generations would have a clear image of the original Declaration, William Stone made copies of the document before it faded away entirely. Historians dispute how Stone rendered the facsimiles. He kept the original Declaration in his shop for up to three years and may have used a process that involved taking a wet cloth, putting it on the original document, and creating a perfect copy by taking off half the ink. He would have then put the ink on a copper plate to do the etching (though he might have, instead, traced the entire document by hand without making a press copy). Stone used the copper plate to print 200 first edition engravings as well as one copy for himself in 1823, selling the plate and the engravings to the State Department. John Quincy Adams sent copies to each of the living signers of the Declaration (there were three at the time), public officials like President James Monroe, Congress, other executive departments, governors and state legislatures, and official repositories such as universities. The Stone engravings give us the clearest idea of what the original engrossed Declaration looked like on the day it was signed.

    The Constitution, too, has an original engrossed, handwritten version as well as a printing of the final document. John Dunlap, who also served as the official printer of the Declaration, and his partner David C. Claypoole, who worked with him to publish the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, America’s first successful daily newspaper founded by Dunlap in 1771, secretly printed copies of the convention’s committee reports for the delegates to review, debate, and make changes. At the end of the day on September 15, 1787, after all of the delegations present had approved the Constitution, the convention ordered it engrossed on parchment. Jacob Shallus, assistant clerk to the Pennsylvania legislature, spent the rest of the weekend preparing the engrossed copy (now in the National Archives), while Dunlap and Claypoole were ordered to print 500 copies of the final text for distribution to the delegates, Congress, and the states. The engrossed copy was signed on Monday, September 17th, which is now celebrated as Constitution Day.

    The copy of the Constitution on display at the National Constitution Center was published in Dunlap and Claypoole’s Pennsylvania Packet newspaper on September 19, 1787. Because it was the first public printing of the document—the first time Americans saw the Constitution—scholars consider its constitutional significance to be especially profound. The publication of the Constitution in the Pennsylvania Packet was the first opportunity for “We the People of the United States” to read the Constitution that had been drafted and would later be ratified in their name.

    The handwritten Constitution inspires awe, but the first public printing reminds us that it was only the ratification of the document by “We the People” that made the Constitution the supreme law of the land. As James Madison emphasized in The Federalist No. 40 in 1788, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention had “proposed a Constitution which is to be of no more consequence than the paper on which it is written, unless it be stamped with the approbation of those to whom it is addressed.” Only 25 copies of the Pennsylvania Packet Constitution are known to have survived.

    Finally, there is the Bill of Rights. On October 2, 1789, Congress sent 12 proposed amendments to the Constitution to the states for ratification—including the 10 that would come to be known as the Bill of Rights. There were 14 original manuscript copies, including the one displayed at the National Constitution Center—one for the federal government and one for each of the 13 states.

    Twelve of the 14 copies are known to have survived. Two copies —those of the federal government and Delaware — are in the National Archives. Eight states currently have their original documents; Georgia, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania do not. There are two existing unidentified copies, one held by the Library of Congress and one held by The New York Public Library. The copy on display at the National Constitution Center is from the collections of The New York Public Library and will be on display for several years through an agreement between the Library and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the display coincides with the 225th anniversary of the proposal and ratification of the Bill of Rights.

    The Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are the three most important documents in American history because they express the ideals that define “We the People of the United States” and inspire free people around the world.

    By Richard R. Beeman

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    The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states (all but Rhode Island, which declined to send delegates), endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution’s closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates’ work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document’s adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.[1]

    The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates. Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present … was devised.

    The U.S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation’s federal government and delineates how its 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are to function. Of those who signed it, virtually every one had taken part in the American Revolution; seven had signed the Declaration of Independence, and thirty had served on active military duty. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest.[2]

    AttestWilliam Jackson Secretary

    On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.[3] The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article (plus a preamble) document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process.[4]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September. The draft constitution was discussed, section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, and further compromises were effected.[3][5]

    On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles.[3] The final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, and a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous.[6][7] The committee also presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation.[8]

    The final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus,[9] was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention’s final session. Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality.

    Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a “weak and worthless fabric”, certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty. The most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with approximately four million people, would last a generation.[7]

    In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention; a total of 74 were named, 55 attended and 39 signed.[6] Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, and three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” He would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best”.[10]

    The closing endorsement of the U.S. Constitution serves an authentication function only. It neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution’s validity, a statement of “This is what was agreed to.” It records who signed the Constitution, plus when and where they signed. It also describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is frequently overlooked and no court has ever cited it when reaching a judicial decision.

  • what is the most important thing to remember
  • On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address (read by James Wilson) strongly endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin then proposed, and the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present. Thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to what was done in convention (rather than on the part and behalf of particular states, as they had in the Articles of Confederation). The signers’ names are, with the exception of Convention President George Washington, grouped by state, with the listing of states arraigned geographically, from north to south.[11]

    Seventy-four individuals were selected to attend the Constitutional Convention, but a number of them could not attend or chose not to attend. In all, fifty-five delegates participated in the convention, though thirteen of them dropped out, either for personal reasons or in protest over decisions made during the deliberations. Three individuals remained engaged in the work of the convention until its completion, but then refused to sign the final draft.[12]

    The names of thirty-nine delegates are inscribed upon the proposed constitution. Among them is John Dickinson, who, indisposed by illness, authorized George Read to sign his name by proxy. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, while not himself a delegate, signed the document to authenticate some corrections. George Washington, as president of the Convention, signed first, followed by the other delegates, grouped by states in progression from north to south. Washington, however, signed near the right margin of the page, and when the delegates ran out of space they began a second column of signatures to the left.[2]

    Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, was the oldest. Franklin was also the first signer to die, in April 1790, while James Madison was the last, dying in June 1836. Virtually every signer had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command. All but seven were native to the thirteen colonies: Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland, Robert Morris in England, James Wilson in Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies.[13]

    When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787 William
    Jackson was ordered to carry the Constitution to Congress in New York City. He also carried two letters with him. One was a resolution, adopted by the delegates, that the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention be received by Congress and distributed to the states, for their approval or disapproval. The other was written by George Washington, on behalf of the delegates, to the President of the Continental Congress, Arthur St. Clair, regarding the proposed Constitution.

    Monday September 17. 1787

    The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    RESOLVED

    THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

    Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

    By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
    GEORGE WASHINGTON President.
    William Jackson Secretary[14]

    Sir,
    We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

    The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

    It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all—Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

    In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

    That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

    With great respect,

    We have the honor to be.

    SIR,

    Your Excellency’s most

    Obedient and humble Servants,

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT.

    By unanimous Order of the Convention.[14]

    The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states (all but Rhode Island, which declined to send delegates), endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution’s closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates’ work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document’s adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.[1]

    The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates. Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present … was devised.

    The U.S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation’s federal government and delineates how its 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are to function. Of those who signed it, virtually every one had taken part in the American Revolution; seven had signed the Declaration of Independence, and thirty had served on active military duty. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest.[2]

    AttestWilliam Jackson Secretary

    On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.[3] The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article (plus a preamble) document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process.[4]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September. The draft constitution was discussed, section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, and further compromises were effected.[3][5]

    On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles.[3] The final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, and a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous.[6][7] The committee also presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation.[8]

    The final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus,[9] was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention’s final session. Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality.

    Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a “weak and worthless fabric”, certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty. The most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with approximately four million people, would last a generation.[7]

    In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention; a total of 74 were named, 55 attended and 39 signed.[6] Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, and three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” He would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best”.[10]

    The closing endorsement of the U.S. Constitution serves an authentication function only. It neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution’s validity, a statement of “This is what was agreed to.” It records who signed the Constitution, plus when and where they signed. It also describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is frequently overlooked and no court has ever cited it when reaching a judicial decision.

  • electronic copy
  • On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address (read by James Wilson) strongly endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin then proposed, and the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present. Thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to what was done in convention (rather than on the part and behalf of particular states, as they had in the Articles of Confederation). The signers’ names are, with the exception of Convention President George Washington, grouped by state, with the listing of states arraigned geographically, from north to south.[11]

    Seventy-four individuals were selected to attend the Constitutional Convention, but a number of them could not attend or chose not to attend. In all, fifty-five delegates participated in the convention, though thirteen of them dropped out, either for personal reasons or in protest over decisions made during the deliberations. Three individuals remained engaged in the work of the convention until its completion, but then refused to sign the final draft.[12]

    The names of thirty-nine delegates are inscribed upon the proposed constitution. Among them is John Dickinson, who, indisposed by illness, authorized George Read to sign his name by proxy. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, while not himself a delegate, signed the document to authenticate some corrections. George Washington, as president of the Convention, signed first, followed by the other delegates, grouped by states in progression from north to south. Washington, however, signed near the right margin of the page, and when the delegates ran out of space they began a second column of signatures to the left.[2]

    Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, was the oldest. Franklin was also the first signer to die, in April 1790, while James Madison was the last, dying in June 1836. Virtually every signer had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command. All but seven were native to the thirteen colonies: Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland, Robert Morris in England, James Wilson in Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies.[13]

    When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787 William
    Jackson was ordered to carry the Constitution to Congress in New York City. He also carried two letters with him. One was a resolution, adopted by the delegates, that the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention be received by Congress and distributed to the states, for their approval or disapproval. The other was written by George Washington, on behalf of the delegates, to the President of the Continental Congress, Arthur St. Clair, regarding the proposed Constitution.

    Monday September 17. 1787

    The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    RESOLVED

    THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

    Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

    By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
    GEORGE WASHINGTON President.
    William Jackson Secretary[14]

    Sir,
    We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

    The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

    It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all—Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

    In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

    That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

    With great respect,

    We have the honor to be.

    SIR,

    Your Excellency’s most

    Obedient and humble Servants,

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT.

    By unanimous Order of the Convention.[14]

    The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states (all but Rhode Island, which declined to send delegates), endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution’s closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates’ work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document’s adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.[1]

    The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates. Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present … was devised.

    The U.S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation’s federal government and delineates how its 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are to function. Of those who signed it, virtually every one had taken part in the American Revolution; seven had signed the Declaration of Independence, and thirty had served on active military duty. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest.[2]

    AttestWilliam Jackson Secretary

    On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.[3] The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article (plus a preamble) document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process.[4]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September. The draft constitution was discussed, section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, and further compromises were effected.[3][5]

    On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles.[3] The final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, and a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous.[6][7] The committee also presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation.[8]

    The final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus,[9] was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention’s final session. Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality.

    Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a “weak and worthless fabric”, certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty. The most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with approximately four million people, would last a generation.[7]

    In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention; a total of 74 were named, 55 attended and 39 signed.[6] Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, and three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” He would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best”.[10]

    The closing endorsement of the U.S. Constitution serves an authentication function only. It neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution’s validity, a statement of “This is what was agreed to.” It records who signed the Constitution, plus when and where they signed. It also describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is frequently overlooked and no court has ever cited it when reaching a judicial decision.

  • 2000 divided by 2
  • On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address (read by James Wilson) strongly endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin then proposed, and the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present. Thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to what was done in convention (rather than on the part and behalf of particular states, as they had in the Articles of Confederation). The signers’ names are, with the exception of Convention President George Washington, grouped by state, with the listing of states arraigned geographically, from north to south.[11]

    Seventy-four individuals were selected to attend the Constitutional Convention, but a number of them could not attend or chose not to attend. In all, fifty-five delegates participated in the convention, though thirteen of them dropped out, either for personal reasons or in protest over decisions made during the deliberations. Three individuals remained engaged in the work of the convention until its completion, but then refused to sign the final draft.[12]

    The names of thirty-nine delegates are inscribed upon the proposed constitution. Among them is John Dickinson, who, indisposed by illness, authorized George Read to sign his name by proxy. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, while not himself a delegate, signed the document to authenticate some corrections. George Washington, as president of the Convention, signed first, followed by the other delegates, grouped by states in progression from north to south. Washington, however, signed near the right margin of the page, and when the delegates ran out of space they began a second column of signatures to the left.[2]

    Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, was the oldest. Franklin was also the first signer to die, in April 1790, while James Madison was the last, dying in June 1836. Virtually every signer had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command. All but seven were native to the thirteen colonies: Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland, Robert Morris in England, James Wilson in Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies.[13]

    When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787 William
    Jackson was ordered to carry the Constitution to Congress in New York City. He also carried two letters with him. One was a resolution, adopted by the delegates, that the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention be received by Congress and distributed to the states, for their approval or disapproval. The other was written by George Washington, on behalf of the delegates, to the President of the Continental Congress, Arthur St. Clair, regarding the proposed Constitution.

    Monday September 17. 1787

    The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    RESOLVED

    THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

    Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

    By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
    GEORGE WASHINGTON President.
    William Jackson Secretary[14]

    Sir,
    We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

    The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

    It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all—Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

    In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

    That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

    With great respect,

    We have the honor to be.

    SIR,

    Your Excellency’s most

    Obedient and humble Servants,

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT.

    By unanimous Order of the Convention.[14]

    The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states (all but Rhode Island, which declined to send delegates), endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution’s closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates’ work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document’s adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.[1]

    The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates. Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present … was devised.

    The U.S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation’s federal government and delineates how its 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are to function. Of those who signed it, virtually every one had taken part in the American Revolution; seven had signed the Declaration of Independence, and thirty had served on active military duty. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest.[2]

    AttestWilliam Jackson Secretary

    On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.[3] The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article (plus a preamble) document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process.[4]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September. The draft constitution was discussed, section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, and further compromises were effected.[3][5]

    On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles.[3] The final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, and a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous.[6][7] The committee also presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation.[8]

    The final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus,[9] was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention’s final session. Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality.

    Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a “weak and worthless fabric”, certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty. The most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with approximately four million people, would last a generation.[7]

    In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention; a total of 74 were named, 55 attended and 39 signed.[6] Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, and three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” He would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best”.[10]

    The closing endorsement of the U.S. Constitution serves an authentication function only. It neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution’s validity, a statement of “This is what was agreed to.” It records who signed the Constitution, plus when and where they signed. It also describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is frequently overlooked and no court has ever cited it when reaching a judicial decision.

  • scn- polar or nonpolar
  • On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address (read by James Wilson) strongly endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin then proposed, and the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present. Thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to what was done in convention (rather than on the part and behalf of particular states, as they had in the Articles of Confederation). The signers’ names are, with the exception of Convention President George Washington, grouped by state, with the listing of states arraigned geographically, from north to south.[11]

    Seventy-four individuals were selected to attend the Constitutional Convention, but a number of them could not attend or chose not to attend. In all, fifty-five delegates participated in the convention, though thirteen of them dropped out, either for personal reasons or in protest over decisions made during the deliberations. Three individuals remained engaged in the work of the convention until its completion, but then refused to sign the final draft.[12]

    The names of thirty-nine delegates are inscribed upon the proposed constitution. Among them is John Dickinson, who, indisposed by illness, authorized George Read to sign his name by proxy. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, while not himself a delegate, signed the document to authenticate some corrections. George Washington, as president of the Convention, signed first, followed by the other delegates, grouped by states in progression from north to south. Washington, however, signed near the right margin of the page, and when the delegates ran out of space they began a second column of signatures to the left.[2]

    Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, was the oldest. Franklin was also the first signer to die, in April 1790, while James Madison was the last, dying in June 1836. Virtually every signer had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command. All but seven were native to the thirteen colonies: Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland, Robert Morris in England, James Wilson in Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies.[13]

    When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787 William
    Jackson was ordered to carry the Constitution to Congress in New York City. He also carried two letters with him. One was a resolution, adopted by the delegates, that the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention be received by Congress and distributed to the states, for their approval or disapproval. The other was written by George Washington, on behalf of the delegates, to the President of the Continental Congress, Arthur St. Clair, regarding the proposed Constitution.

    Monday September 17. 1787

    The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    RESOLVED

    THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

    Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

    By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
    GEORGE WASHINGTON President.
    William Jackson Secretary[14]

    Sir,
    We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

    The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

    It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all—Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

    In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

    That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

    With great respect,

    We have the honor to be.

    SIR,

    Your Excellency’s most

    Obedient and humble Servants,

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT.

    By unanimous Order of the Convention.[14]

    The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states (all but Rhode Island, which declined to send delegates), endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution’s closing protocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates’ work has been successfully completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document’s adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, added a note to verify four amendments made by hand to the final document, and signed the note to authenticate its validity.[1]

    The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates. Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present … was devised.

    The U.S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation’s federal government and delineates how its 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) are to function. Of those who signed it, virtually every one had taken part in the American Revolution; seven had signed the Declaration of Independence, and thirty had served on active military duty. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest.[2]

    AttestWilliam Jackson Secretary

    On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.[3] The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article (plus a preamble) document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process.[4]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September. The draft constitution was discussed, section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, and further compromises were effected.[3][5]

    On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles.[3] The final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, and a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous.[6][7] The committee also presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation.[8]

    The final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus,[9] was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention’s final session. Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality.

    Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a “weak and worthless fabric”, certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty. The most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with approximately four million people, would last a generation.[7]

    In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention; a total of 74 were named, 55 attended and 39 signed.[6] Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, and three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” He would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best”.[10]

    The closing endorsement of the U.S. Constitution serves an authentication function only. It neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution’s validity, a statement of “This is what was agreed to.” It records who signed the Constitution, plus when and where they signed. It also describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is frequently overlooked and no court has ever cited it when reaching a judicial decision.

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  • On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address (read by James Wilson) strongly endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin then proposed, and the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present. Thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to what was done in convention (rather than on the part and behalf of particular states, as they had in the Articles of Confederation). The signers’ names are, with the exception of Convention President George Washington, grouped by state, with the listing of states arraigned geographically, from north to south.[11]

    Seventy-four individuals were selected to attend the Constitutional Convention, but a number of them could not attend or chose not to attend. In all, fifty-five delegates participated in the convention, though thirteen of them dropped out, either for personal reasons or in protest over decisions made during the deliberations. Three individuals remained engaged in the work of the convention until its completion, but then refused to sign the final draft.[12]

    The names of thirty-nine delegates are inscribed upon the proposed constitution. Among them is John Dickinson, who, indisposed by illness, authorized George Read to sign his name by proxy. Additionally, the convention’s secretary, William Jackson, while not himself a delegate, signed the document to authenticate some corrections. George Washington, as president of the Convention, signed first, followed by the other delegates, grouped by states in progression from north to south. Washington, however, signed near the right margin of the page, and when the delegates ran out of space they began a second column of signatures to the left.[2]

    Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, was the oldest. Franklin was also the first signer to die, in April 1790, while James Madison was the last, dying in June 1836. Virtually every signer had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command. All but seven were native to the thirteen colonies: Pierce Butler, Thomas Fitzsimons, James McHenry, and William Paterson were born in Ireland, Robert Morris in England, James Wilson in Scotland, and Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies.[13]

    When the Constitutional Convention adjourned on September 17, 1787 William
    Jackson was ordered to carry the Constitution to Congress in New York City. He also carried two letters with him. One was a resolution, adopted by the delegates, that the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention be received by Congress and distributed to the states, for their approval or disapproval. The other was written by George Washington, on behalf of the delegates, to the President of the Continental Congress, Arthur St. Clair, regarding the proposed Constitution.

    Monday September 17. 1787

    The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    RESOLVED

    THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.

    Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their votes certified signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

    By the Unanimous Order of the Convention,
    GEORGE WASHINGTON President.
    William Jackson Secretary[14]

    Sir,
    We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

    The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident—Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

    It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all—Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

    In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

    That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

    With great respect,

    We have the honor to be.

    SIR,

    Your Excellency’s most

    Obedient and humble Servants,

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT.

    By unanimous Order of the Convention.[14]


    The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 colonies, 12 of which voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The New York delegation abstained because they had not yet received instructions from Albany to vote for independence. The Declaration proclaimed the signatory colonies were now “free and independent States,” no longer colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain and, thus, no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress; the states are arranged geographically from south to north, with Button Gwinnett from Georgia first, and Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire last.

    The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining. The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776.[1] That assertion is seemingly confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, which is dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress. The proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, and the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date (the official copy was handwritten).[2]

    In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[3] “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after”, he wrote.[4] His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821.[5] The Secret Journals contained two previously unpublished entries about the Declaration.
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 15, New York’s delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration.[6] The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads:

    Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America” & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.[7]

    The entry for August 2 states:

    The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.[7]

    In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, and had not been signed by Congress until August 2.[8] Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, and that some delegates may have added their signatures even after August 2.[9] Neither Jefferson nor Adams ever wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”[10]

    Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and that the others signed on or after August 2.[11] Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had stated, and that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken.[12] He believes that McKean’s testimony was questionable,[13] and that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, which was necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence. He reasons that the phrase “signed by every member of Congress” in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so.[14]

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  • Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the Declaration of Independence:

    President of Congress

    New Hampshire

    Massachusetts Bay

    Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

    Connecticut

    New York

    New Jersey

    Pennsylvania

    Delaware

    Maryland

    Virginia

    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Georgia


    Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776:[15] John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner.[16] Clinton, Livingston, and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document.[17] Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature, but he remained in Congress. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, and Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration.

    The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[18] Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[19] Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) the oldest.

    Some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, including William Hooper[21] and Samuel Chase, but they were back in Congress to sign on August 2. Other delegates were present when the Declaration was debated but added their names after August 2, including Lewis Morris, Oliver Wolcott, Thomas McKean, and possibly Elbridge Gerry. Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe were in Virginia during July and August, but returned to Congress and signed the Declaration probably in September and October, respectively.[22]

    New delegates joining the Congress were also allowed to sign. Eight men signed the Declaration who did not take seats in Congress until after July 4: Matthew Thornton, William Williams, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, George Ross, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[23] Matthew Thornton did not take a seat in Congress until November.[24] By the time that he signed it, there wasn’t any space for his name next to the other New Hampshire delegates, so he placed his signature at the end of the document.[25]

    The first published version of the Declaration was the Dunlap broadside. The only names on that version were Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson, and those names were printed rather than signatures. The public did not learn who had signed the engrossed copy until January 18, 1777, when the Congress ordered that an “authenticated copy” be sent to each of the 13 states, including the names of the signers.[26] This copy is called the Goddard Broadside; it was the first to list all the signers[27] except for Thomas McKean, who may not have signed the Declaration until after the Goddard Broadside was published. Congress Secretary Charles Thomson did not sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration, and his name doesn’t appear on the Goddard Broadside, even though it does appear on the Dunlap broadside.

    Various legends emerged years later concerning the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The earliest known version of that quotation in print appeared in a London humor magazine in 1837.[28]


    The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 colonies, 12 of which voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The New York delegation abstained because they had not yet received instructions from Albany to vote for independence. The Declaration proclaimed the signatory colonies were now “free and independent States,” no longer colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain and, thus, no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress; the states are arranged geographically from south to north, with Button Gwinnett from Georgia first, and Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire last.

    The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining. The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776.[1] That assertion is seemingly confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, which is dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress. The proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, and the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date (the official copy was handwritten).[2]

    In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[3] “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after”, he wrote.[4] His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821.[5] The Secret Journals contained two previously unpublished entries about the Declaration.
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 15, New York’s delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration.[6] The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads:

    Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America” & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.[7]

    The entry for August 2 states:

    The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.[7]

    In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, and had not been signed by Congress until August 2.[8] Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, and that some delegates may have added their signatures even after August 2.[9] Neither Jefferson nor Adams ever wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”[10]

    Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and that the others signed on or after August 2.[11] Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had stated, and that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken.[12] He believes that McKean’s testimony was questionable,[13] and that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, which was necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence. He reasons that the phrase “signed by every member of Congress” in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so.[14]

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  • Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the Declaration of Independence:

    President of Congress

    New Hampshire

    Massachusetts Bay

    Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

    Connecticut

    New York

    New Jersey

    Pennsylvania

    Delaware

    Maryland

    Virginia

    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Georgia


    Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776:[15] John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner.[16] Clinton, Livingston, and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document.[17] Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature, but he remained in Congress. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, and Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration.

    The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[18] Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[19] Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) the oldest.

    Some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, including William Hooper[21] and Samuel Chase, but they were back in Congress to sign on August 2. Other delegates were present when the Declaration was debated but added their names after August 2, including Lewis Morris, Oliver Wolcott, Thomas McKean, and possibly Elbridge Gerry. Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe were in Virginia during July and August, but returned to Congress and signed the Declaration probably in September and October, respectively.[22]

    New delegates joining the Congress were also allowed to sign. Eight men signed the Declaration who did not take seats in Congress until after July 4: Matthew Thornton, William Williams, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, George Ross, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[23] Matthew Thornton did not take a seat in Congress until November.[24] By the time that he signed it, there wasn’t any space for his name next to the other New Hampshire delegates, so he placed his signature at the end of the document.[25]

    The first published version of the Declaration was the Dunlap broadside. The only names on that version were Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson, and those names were printed rather than signatures. The public did not learn who had signed the engrossed copy until January 18, 1777, when the Congress ordered that an “authenticated copy” be sent to each of the 13 states, including the names of the signers.[26] This copy is called the Goddard Broadside; it was the first to list all the signers[27] except for Thomas McKean, who may not have signed the Declaration until after the Goddard Broadside was published. Congress Secretary Charles Thomson did not sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration, and his name doesn’t appear on the Goddard Broadside, even though it does appear on the Dunlap broadside.

    Various legends emerged years later concerning the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The earliest known version of that quotation in print appeared in a London humor magazine in 1837.[28]


    The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 colonies, 12 of which voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The New York delegation abstained because they had not yet received instructions from Albany to vote for independence. The Declaration proclaimed the signatory colonies were now “free and independent States,” no longer colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain and, thus, no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress; the states are arranged geographically from south to north, with Button Gwinnett from Georgia first, and Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire last.

    The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining. The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776.[1] That assertion is seemingly confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, which is dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress. The proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, and the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date (the official copy was handwritten).[2]

    In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[3] “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after”, he wrote.[4] His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821.[5] The Secret Journals contained two previously unpublished entries about the Declaration.
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 15, New York’s delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration.[6] The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads:

    Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America” & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.[7]

    The entry for August 2 states:

    The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.[7]

    In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, and had not been signed by Congress until August 2.[8] Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, and that some delegates may have added their signatures even after August 2.[9] Neither Jefferson nor Adams ever wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”[10]

    Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and that the others signed on or after August 2.[11] Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had stated, and that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken.[12] He believes that McKean’s testimony was questionable,[13] and that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, which was necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence. He reasons that the phrase “signed by every member of Congress” in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so.[14]

  • what is 1×1
  • Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the Declaration of Independence:

    President of Congress

    New Hampshire

    Massachusetts Bay

    Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

    Connecticut

    New York

    New Jersey

    Pennsylvania

    Delaware

    Maryland

    Virginia

    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Georgia


    Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776:[15] John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner.[16] Clinton, Livingston, and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document.[17] Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature, but he remained in Congress. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, and Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration.

    The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[18] Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[19] Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) the oldest.

    Some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, including William Hooper[21] and Samuel Chase, but they were back in Congress to sign on August 2. Other delegates were present when the Declaration was debated but added their names after August 2, including Lewis Morris, Oliver Wolcott, Thomas McKean, and possibly Elbridge Gerry. Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe were in Virginia during July and August, but returned to Congress and signed the Declaration probably in September and October, respectively.[22]

    New delegates joining the Congress were also allowed to sign. Eight men signed the Declaration who did not take seats in Congress until after July 4: Matthew Thornton, William Williams, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, George Ross, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[23] Matthew Thornton did not take a seat in Congress until November.[24] By the time that he signed it, there wasn’t any space for his name next to the other New Hampshire delegates, so he placed his signature at the end of the document.[25]

    The first published version of the Declaration was the Dunlap broadside. The only names on that version were Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson, and those names were printed rather than signatures. The public did not learn who had signed the engrossed copy until January 18, 1777, when the Congress ordered that an “authenticated copy” be sent to each of the 13 states, including the names of the signers.[26] This copy is called the Goddard Broadside; it was the first to list all the signers[27] except for Thomas McKean, who may not have signed the Declaration until after the Goddard Broadside was published. Congress Secretary Charles Thomson did not sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration, and his name doesn’t appear on the Goddard Broadside, even though it does appear on the Dunlap broadside.

    Various legends emerged years later concerning the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The earliest known version of that quotation in print appeared in a London humor magazine in 1837.[28]


    The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 colonies, 12 of which voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The New York delegation abstained because they had not yet received instructions from Albany to vote for independence. The Declaration proclaimed the signatory colonies were now “free and independent States,” no longer colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain and, thus, no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress; the states are arranged geographically from south to north, with Button Gwinnett from Georgia first, and Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire last.

    The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining. The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776.[1] That assertion is seemingly confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, which is dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress. The proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, and the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date (the official copy was handwritten).[2]

    In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[3] “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after”, he wrote.[4] His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821.[5] The Secret Journals contained two previously unpublished entries about the Declaration.
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 15, New York’s delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration.[6] The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads:

    Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America” & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.[7]

    The entry for August 2 states:

    The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.[7]

    In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, and had not been signed by Congress until August 2.[8] Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, and that some delegates may have added their signatures even after August 2.[9] Neither Jefferson nor Adams ever wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”[10]

    Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and that the others signed on or after August 2.[11] Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had stated, and that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken.[12] He believes that McKean’s testimony was questionable,[13] and that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, which was necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence. He reasons that the phrase “signed by every member of Congress” in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so.[14]

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  • Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the Declaration of Independence:

    President of Congress

    New Hampshire

    Massachusetts Bay

    Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

    Connecticut

    New York

    New Jersey

    Pennsylvania

    Delaware

    Maryland

    Virginia

    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Georgia


    Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776:[15] John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner.[16] Clinton, Livingston, and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document.[17] Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature, but he remained in Congress. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, and Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration.

    The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[18] Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[19] Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) the oldest.

    Some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, including William Hooper[21] and Samuel Chase, but they were back in Congress to sign on August 2. Other delegates were present when the Declaration was debated but added their names after August 2, including Lewis Morris, Oliver Wolcott, Thomas McKean, and possibly Elbridge Gerry. Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe were in Virginia during July and August, but returned to Congress and signed the Declaration probably in September and October, respectively.[22]

    New delegates joining the Congress were also allowed to sign. Eight men signed the Declaration who did not take seats in Congress until after July 4: Matthew Thornton, William Williams, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, George Ross, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[23] Matthew Thornton did not take a seat in Congress until November.[24] By the time that he signed it, there wasn’t any space for his name next to the other New Hampshire delegates, so he placed his signature at the end of the document.[25]

    The first published version of the Declaration was the Dunlap broadside. The only names on that version were Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson, and those names were printed rather than signatures. The public did not learn who had signed the engrossed copy until January 18, 1777, when the Congress ordered that an “authenticated copy” be sent to each of the 13 states, including the names of the signers.[26] This copy is called the Goddard Broadside; it was the first to list all the signers[27] except for Thomas McKean, who may not have signed the Declaration until after the Goddard Broadside was published. Congress Secretary Charles Thomson did not sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration, and his name doesn’t appear on the Goddard Broadside, even though it does appear on the Dunlap broadside.

    Various legends emerged years later concerning the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The earliest known version of that quotation in print appeared in a London humor magazine in 1837.[28]


    The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on July 4, 1776, at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 colonies, 12 of which voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The New York delegation abstained because they had not yet received instructions from Albany to vote for independence. The Declaration proclaimed the signatory colonies were now “free and independent States,” no longer colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain and, thus, no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of John Hancock, as President of the Continental Congress; the states are arranged geographically from south to north, with Button Gwinnett from Georgia first, and Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire last.

    The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining. The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776.[1] That assertion is seemingly confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, which is dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress. The proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, and the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date (the official copy was handwritten).[2]

    In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[3] “No person signed it on that day nor for many days after”, he wrote.[4] His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821.[5] The Secret Journals contained two previously unpublished entries about the Declaration.
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 15, New York’s delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration.[6] The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads:

    Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be fairly engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America” & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress.[7]

    The entry for August 2 states:

    The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members.[7]

    In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, and had not been signed by Congress until August 2.[8] Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, and that some delegates may have added their signatures even after August 2.[9] Neither Jefferson nor Adams ever wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”[10]

    Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and that the others signed on or after August 2.[11] Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had stated, and that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken.[12] He believes that McKean’s testimony was questionable,[13] and that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, which was necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence. He reasons that the phrase “signed by every member of Congress” in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so.[14]

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  • Fifty-six delegates eventually signed the Declaration of Independence:

    President of Congress

    New Hampshire

    Massachusetts Bay

    Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

    Connecticut

    New York

    New Jersey

    Pennsylvania

    Delaware

    Maryland

    Virginia

    North Carolina

    South Carolina

    Georgia


    Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776:[15] John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner.[16] Clinton, Livingston, and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document.[17] Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature, but he remained in Congress. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, and Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration.

    The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[18] Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[19] Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) the oldest.

    Some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, including William Hooper[21] and Samuel Chase, but they were back in Congress to sign on August 2. Other delegates were present when the Declaration was debated but added their names after August 2, including Lewis Morris, Oliver Wolcott, Thomas McKean, and possibly Elbridge Gerry. Richard Henry Lee and George Wythe were in Virginia during July and August, but returned to Congress and signed the Declaration probably in September and October, respectively.[22]

    New delegates joining the Congress were also allowed to sign. Eight men signed the Declaration who did not take seats in Congress until after July 4: Matthew Thornton, William Williams, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, George Ross, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[23] Matthew Thornton did not take a seat in Congress until November.[24] By the time that he signed it, there wasn’t any space for his name next to the other New Hampshire delegates, so he placed his signature at the end of the document.[25]

    The first published version of the Declaration was the Dunlap broadside. The only names on that version were Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson, and those names were printed rather than signatures. The public did not learn who had signed the engrossed copy until January 18, 1777, when the Congress ordered that an “authenticated copy” be sent to each of the 13 states, including the names of the signers.[26] This copy is called the Goddard Broadside; it was the first to list all the signers[27] except for Thomas McKean, who may not have signed the Declaration until after the Goddard Broadside was published. Congress Secretary Charles Thomson did not sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration, and his name doesn’t appear on the Goddard Broadside, even though it does appear on the Dunlap broadside.

    Various legends emerged years later concerning the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The earliest known version of that quotation in print appeared in a London humor magazine in 1837.[28]

    Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most-populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2020 population of 1,603,797.[6] It is also the second-most populous city in the Northeastern United States, behind New York City. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most-populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017[update].[9] Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural center of the greater Delaware Valley along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill rivers within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley’s 2019 estimated population of 7.21 million makes it the ninth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.[10]

    Philadelphia is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony.[4][11] Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, and the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, and the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia remained the nation’s largest city until being overtaken by New York City in 1790; the city was also one of the nation’s capitals during the revolution, serving as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C. was under construction. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and a railroad hub. The city grew due to an influx of European immigrants, most of whom initially came from Ireland and Germany—the two largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015[update]. Later immigrant groups in the 20th century came from Italy (Italian being the third largest European ethnic ancestry currently reported in Philadelphia) and other Southern European and Eastern European countries.[12] In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War.[13] Puerto Ricans began moving to the city in large numbers in the period between World War I and II, and in even greater numbers in the post-war period.[14] The city’s population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950.

    The Philadelphia area’s many universities and colleges make it a top study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub.[15][16] As of 2019[update], the Philadelphia metropolitan area is estimated to produce a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $490 billion.[17] Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to five Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, with a market of almost 81,900 commercial properties in 2016,[18] including several nationally prominent skyscrapers.[19] Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city.[20][21] Fairmount Park, when combined with the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park in the same watershed, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States.[22] The city is known for its arts, culture, cuisine, and colonial history, attracting 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent $6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania.[23] Philadelphia is also a biotechnology hub.[24]

    Philadelphia is the home of many U.S. firsts, including the nation’s first library (1731),[25] hospital (1751),[25] medical school (1765),[26] national capital (1774),[27] university (by some accounts) (1779),[28] stock exchange (1790),[25] zoo (1874),[29] and business school (1881).[30] Philadelphia contains 67 National Historic Landmarks and the World Heritage Site of Independence Hall.[31] The city became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015,[32] as the first World Heritage City in the United States.[16]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape (Delaware) Indians in the village of Shackamaxon. The Lenape are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government.[33] They are also called Delaware Indians,[34] and their historical territory was along the Delaware River watershed, western Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley.[a] Most Lenape were pushed out of their Delaware homeland during the 18th century by expanding European colonies, exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts.[34] Lenape communities were weakened by newly introduced diseases, mainly smallpox, and violent conflict with Europeans. Iroquois people occasionally fought the Lenape. Surviving Lenape moved west into the upper Ohio River basin. The American Revolutionary War and United States’ independence pushed them further west. In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma and surrounding territory) under the Indian removal policy. In the 21st century, most Lenape reside in Oklahoma, with some communities living also in Wisconsin, Ontario (Canada), and in their traditional homelands.[citation needed]

    Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey. The Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony. In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina (present-day Wilmington, Delaware) and quickly spread out in the valley. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their war against Maryland colonists.[35] In 1648, the Dutch built Fort Beversreede on the west bank of the Delaware, south of the Schuylkill near the present-day Eastwick neighborhood, to reassert their dominion over the area. The Swedes responded by building Fort Nya Korsholm, or New Korsholm, named after a town in Finland with a Swedish majority. In 1655, a Dutch military campaign led by New Netherland Director-General Peter Stuyvesant took control of the Swedish colony, ending its claim to independence. The Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to have their own militia, religion, and court, and to enjoy substantial autonomy under the Dutch. An English fleet captured the New Netherland colony in 1664, though the situation did not change substantially until 1682 when the area was included in William Penn’s charter for Pennsylvania.[36]

    In 1681, in partial repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Despite the royal charter, Penn bought the land from the local Lenape to be on good terms with the Native Americans and ensure peace for his colony.[37] Penn made a treaty of friendship with Lenape chief Tammany under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, in what is now the city’s Fishtown neighborhood.[4] Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for “brotherly love,” derived from the Ancient Greek terms φίλος phílos (beloved, dear) and ἀδελφός adelphós (brother, brotherly). There were a number of cities named Philadelphia in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Greek and Roman periods, including one (modern Alaşehir) mentioned as the site of an early Christian congregation in the Book of Revelation. As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely. This tolerance, far more than afforded by most other colonies, led to better relations with the local native tribes and fostered Philadelphia’s rapid growth into America’s most important city.[38]

    Penn planned a city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. Hoping that Philadelphia would become more like an English rural town instead of a city, Penn laid out roads on a grid plan to keep houses and businesses spread far apart, with areas for gardens and orchards. The city’s inhabitants did not follow Penn’s plans, however, as they crowded by the Delaware River port, and subdivided and resold their lots.[39] Before Penn left Philadelphia for the last time, he issued the Charter of 1701 establishing it as a city. Though poor at first, the city became an important trading center with tolerable living conditions by the 1750s. Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as fire protection, a library, and one of the American colonies’ first hospitals.

    A number of philosophical societies were formed, which were centers of the city’s intellectual life: the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (1785), the Pennsylvania Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts (1787), the Academy of Natural Sciences (1812), and the Franklin Institute (1824).[40] These societies developed and financed new industries, attracting skilled and knowledgeable immigrants from Europe.

    Philadelphia’s importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America’s revolutionaries. By the 1750s, Philadelphia had surpassed Boston to become the largest city and busiest port in British America, and second in the British Empire after London.[41][42] The city hosted the First Continental Congress (1774) before the Revolutionary War; the Second Continental Congress (1775–76),[43] which signed the United States Declaration of Independence, during the war; and the Constitutional Convention (1787) after the war. Several battles were fought in and near Philadelphia as well.

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  • Philadelphia served as the temporary capital of the United States while the new capital was under construction in the District of Columbia from 1790 to 1800.[44] In 1793, the largest yellow fever epidemic in U.S. history killed approximately 4,000 to 5,000 people in Philadelphia, or about 10% of the city’s population.[45][46]

    The state capital was moved to Lancaster in 1799, then Harrisburg in 1812, while the federal government was moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800 upon completion of the White House and U.S. Capitol building. The city remained the young nation’s largest until the late 18th century, being both a financial and a cultural center for America. In 1816, the city’s free black community founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black denomination in the country, and the first black Episcopal Church. The free black community also established many schools for its children, with the help of Quakers. New York City surpassed Philadelphia in population by 1790. Large-scale construction projects for new roads, canals, and railroads made Philadelphia the first major industrial city in the United States.

    Throughout the 19th century, Philadelphia hosted a variety of industries and businesses, the largest being textiles. Major corporations in the 19th and early 20th centuries included the Baldwin Locomotive Works, William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad.[47] Established in 1870, the Philadelphia Conveyancers’ Association was chartered by the state in 1871. Industry, along with the U.S. Centennial, was celebrated in 1876 with the Centennial Exposition, the first official World’s fair in the United States.

    Immigrants, mostly from Ireland and Germany, settled in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts. These immigrants were largely responsible for the first general strike in North America in 1835, in which workers in the city won the ten-hour workday. The city was a destination for thousands of Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Famine in the 1840s; housing for them was developed south of South Street and later occupied by succeeding immigrants. They established a network of Catholic churches and schools and dominated the Catholic clergy for decades. Anti-Irish, anti-Catholic nativist riots erupted in Philadelphia in 1844. The rise in population of the surrounding districts helped lead to the Act of Consolidation of 1854, which extended the city limits from the 2 square miles (5.2 km2) of Center City to the roughly 134 square miles (350 km2) of Philadelphia County.[48][49]
    In the latter half of the century, immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe and Italy, and African Americans from the southern U.S. settled in the city.[50]

    Philadelphia was represented by the Washington Grays in the American Civil War. The African-American population of Philadelphia increased from 31,699 to 219,559 between 1880 and 1930.[51][52] Twentieth-century black newcomers were part of the Great Migration out of the rural south to northern and midwestern industrial cities.

    The Birth of Pennsylvania, 1680, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris – William Penn, holding paper, and King Charles II

    Penn’s Treaty with the Indians by Benjamin West

    John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence – the Committee of Five presents their draft in Independence Hall, June 28, 1776.[53]

    President’s House – the presidential mansion of George Washington and John Adams, 1790–1800

    Opening day ceremonies at the Centennial Exposition at Memorial Hall, 1876 – first official World’s fair in the United States

    By the 20th century, Philadelphia had an entrenched Republican political machine and a complacent population.[54] The first major reform came in 1917 when outrage over the election-year murder of a police officer led to the shrinking of the City Council from two houses to just one.[55] In July 1919, Philadelphia was one of more than 36 industrial cities nationally to suffer a race riot of ethnic whites against blacks during Red Summer, in post-World War I unrest, as recent immigrants competed with blacks for jobs. In the 1920s, the public flouting of Prohibition laws, organized crime, mob violence, and police involvement in illegal activities led to the appointment of Brig. Gen. Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps as director of public safety, but political pressure prevented any long-term success in fighting crime and corruption.[56]

    In 1940, non-Hispanic whites constituted 86.8% of the city’s population.[57] The population peaked at more than two million residents in 1950, then began to decline with the restructuring of industry, which led to the loss of many middle-class union jobs. In addition, suburbanization had enticed many of the more affluent residents to outlying railroad commuting towns and newer housing. The resulting reduction in Philadelphia’s tax base and the resources of local government caused the city to struggle through a long period of adjustment, with it approaching bankruptcy by the late 1980s.[58][59]

    Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the late 1970s and continues into the 21st century, with much of the development occurring in the Center City and University City neighborhoods. After many of the old manufacturers and businesses left Philadelphia or shut down, the city started attracting service businesses and began to market itself more aggressively as a tourist destination. Contemporary glass-and-granite skyscrapers were built in Center City beginning in the 1980s. Historic areas such as Old City and Society Hill were renovated during the reformist mayoral era of the 1950s through the 1980s, making those areas among the most desirable neighborhoods in Center City. These developments have begun a reversal of the city’s population decline between 1950 and 2000 during which it lost about one-quarter of its residents.[60][61] The city eventually began experiencing a growth in its population in 2007, which has continued with gradual yearly increases to the present.[62][63] Although Philadelphia is rapidly undergoing gentrification, the city actively maintains strategies to minimize displacement of homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods.[64]

    The geographic center of Philadelphia is about 40° 0′ 34″ north latitude and 75° 8′ 0″ west longitude. The 40th parallel north passes through neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and West Philadelphia including Fairmount Park. The city encompasses 142.71 square miles (369.62 km2), of which 134.18 square miles (347.52 km2) is land and 8.53 square miles (22.09 km2), or 6%, is water.[65] Natural bodies of water include the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, the lakes in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, and Cobbs, Wissahickon, and Pennypack creeks. The largest artificial body of water is the East Park Reservoir in Fairmount Park.

    The lowest point is sea level, while the highest point is in Chestnut Hill, about 446 feet (136 m) above sea level on Summit Street near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike (example coordinates near high point: 40.07815 N, 75.20747 W).[66][67]

    Philadelphia is situated on the Fall Line that separates the Atlantic coastal plain from the Piedmont.[68] The rapids on the Schuylkill River at East Falls were inundated by the completion of the dam at the Fairmount Water Works.[69]

    The city is the seat of its own county. The adjacent counties are Montgomery to the northwest; Bucks to the north and northeast; Burlington County, New Jersey, to the east; Camden County, New Jersey, to the southeast; Gloucester County, New Jersey, to the south; and Delaware County to the southwest.

    Philadelphia’s central city was created in the 17th century following the plan by William Penn’s surveyor Thomas Holme. Center City is structured with long, straight streets running nearly due east–west and north–south, forming a grid pattern between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers that is aligned with their courses. The original city plan was designed to allow for easy travel and to keep residences separated by open space that would help prevent the spread of fire.[70] In keeping with the idea of a “Greene Countrie Towne”, and inspired by the many types of trees that grew in the region, Penn named many of the east–west streets for local trees.[71] Penn planned the creation of five public parks in the city which were renamed in 1824[70] (new names in parentheses): Centre Square (Penn Square),[72] Northeast Square (Franklin Square), Southeast Square (Washington Square), Southwest Square (Rittenhouse Square), and Northwest Square (Logan Circle/Square).[73] Center City had an estimated 183,240 residents as of 2015[update], making it the second-most populated downtown area in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan in New York City.[74]

    Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are divided into large sections—North, Northeast, South, Southwest, West, and Northwest—surrounding Center City, which correspond closely with the city’s limits before consolidation in 1854. Each of these large areas contains numerous neighborhoods, some of whose boundaries derive from the boroughs, townships, and other communities that constituted Philadelphia County before their inclusion within the city.[75]

    The City Planning Commission, tasked with guiding growth and development of the city, has divided the city into 18 planning districts as part of the Philadelphia2035 physical development plan.[76][77] Much of the city’s 1980 zoning code was overhauled from 2007 to 2012 as part of a joint effort between former mayors John F. Street and Michael Nutter. The zoning changes were intended to rectify incorrect zoning maps to facilitate future community development, as the city forecasts an additional 100,000 residents and 40,000 jobs will be added by 2035.

    The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) is the largest landlord in Pennsylvania. Established in 1937, the PHA is the nation’s fourth-largest housing authority, serving about 81,000 people with affordable housing, while employing 1,400 on a budget of $371 million.[78] The Philadelphia Parking Authority works to ensure adequate parking for city residents, businesses and visitors.[79]

    Philadelphia’s architectural history dates back to colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The earliest structures were constructed with logs, but brick structures were common by 1700. During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture, including Independence Hall and Christ Church.

    In the first decades of the 19th century, Federal and Greek Revival architecture were the dominant styles produced by Philadelphia architects such as Benjamin Latrobe, William Strickland, John Haviland, John Notman, Thomas Walter, and Samuel Sloan.[80] Frank Furness is considered Philadelphia’s greatest architect of the second half of the 19th century. His contemporaries included John McArthur Jr., Addison Hutton, Wilson Eyre, the Wilson Brothers, and Horace Trumbauer. In 1871, construction began on the Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hall. The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in 1955 to preserve the cultural and architectural history of the city. The commission maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, adding historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as it sees fit.[81]

    In 1932, Philadelphia became home to the first modern International Style skyscraper in the United States, the PSFS Building, designed by George Howe and William Lescaze. The 548 ft (167 m) City Hall remained the tallest building in the city until 1987 when One Liberty Place was completed. Numerous glass and granite skyscrapers were built in Center City beginning in the late 1980s. In 2007, the Comcast Center surpassed One Liberty Place to become the city’s tallest building. The Comcast Technology Center was completed in 2018, reaching a height of 1,121 ft (342 m), as the tallest building in the United States outside of Manhattan and Chicago.[19]

    For much of Philadelphia’s history, the typical home has been the row house. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 19th century and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as “Philadelphia rows”.[80] A variety of row houses are found throughout the city, from Federal-style continuous blocks in Old City and Society Hill to Victorian-style homes in North Philadelphia to twin row houses in West Philadelphia. While newer homes have been built recently, much of the housing dates to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, which has created problems such as urban decay and vacant lots. Some neighborhoods, including Northern Liberties and Society Hill, have been rehabilitated through gentrification.[82][83]

    Elfreth’s Alley, “Our nation’s oldest residential street”, 1702–1836[84]

    Carpenters’ Hall exhibiting Georgian architecture, 1770–1774

    Second Bank of the United States exhibiting Greek Revival architecture, 1818–1824

    Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hall, 1871–1901, from South Broad Street

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    The grand concourse of the 30th Street Station, in Art Deco style, 1927–1933

    As of 2014[update], the total city parkland, including municipal, state and federal parks within the city limits, amounts to 11,211 acres (17.5 sq mi).[22] Philadelphia’s largest park is Fairmount Park which includes the Philadelphia Zoo and encompasses 2,052 acres (3.2 sq mi) of the total parkland, while the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park contains 2,042 acres (3.2 sq mi).[85] Fairmount Park, when combined with Wissahickon Valley Park, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States.[22] The two parks, along with the Colonial Revival, Georgian and Federal-style mansions contained in them, have been listed as one entity on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.[86]

    According to the Köppen climate classification, Philadelphia falls under the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa),[87] whereas according to the Trewartha climate classification, the city has a temperate maritime climate (Do) limited to the north by the continental climate (Dc).[88] Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is moderately cold. The plant life hardiness zones are 7a and 7b, representing an average annual extreme minimum temperature between 0 and 10 °F (−18 and −12 °C).[89]

    Snowfall is highly variable with some winters having only light snow while others include major snowstorms. The normal seasonal snowfall averages 22.4 in (57 cm), with rare snowfalls in November or April, and rarely any sustained snow cover.[90] Seasonal snowfall accumulation has ranged from trace amounts in 1972–73 to 78.7 inches (200 cm) in the winter of 2009–10.[90][b] The city’s heaviest single-storm snowfall was 30.7 in (78 cm) which occurred in January 1996.[91]

    Precipitation is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to eleven wet days per month,[92] at an average annual rate of 44.1 inches (1,120 mm), but historically ranging from 29.31 in (744 mm) in 1922 to 64.33 in (1,634 mm) in 2011.[90] The most rain recorded in one day occurred on July 28, 2013, when 8.02 in (204 mm) fell at Philadelphia International Airport.[90] Philadelphia has a moderately sunny climate with an average of 2,498 hours of sunshine annually, and a percentage of sunshine ranging from 47% in December to 61% in June, July, and August.[93]

    The January daily average temperature is 33.7 °F (0.9 °C),[citation needed] though the temperature frequently rises to 50 °F (10 °C) during thaws and dips to 10 °F (−12 °C) for 2 or 3 nights in a normal winter.[citation needed] July averages 78.7 °F (25.9 °C),[citation needed] although heat waves accompanied by high humidity and heat indices are frequent, with highs reaching or exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 30 days of the year. The average window for freezing temperatures is November 6 thru April 2,[90] allowing a growing season of 217 days. Early fall and late winter are generally dry with February having the lowest average precipitation at 2.75 inches (70 mm). The dewpoint in the summer averages between 59.1 and 64.5 °F (15 and 18 °C).[90]

    The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on August 7, 1918, but temperatures at or above 100 °F (38 °C) are not common, with the last occurrence of such a temperature was July 21, 2019.[94] The lowest officially recorded temperature was −11 °F (−24 °C) on February 9, 1934.[94] Temperatures at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) are rare with the last such occurrence being January 19, 1994.[90] The record low maximum is 5 °F (−15 °C) on February 10, 1899, and December 30, 1880, while the record high minimum is 83 °F (28 °C) on July 23, 2011, and July 24, 2010.[95]

    Philadelphia County received an ozone grade of F and a 24-hour particle pollution rating of D in the American Lung Association’s 2017 State of the Air report, which analyzed data from 2013 to 2015.[100][101] The city was ranked 22nd for ozone, 20th for short-term particle pollution, and 11th for year-round particle pollution.[102] According to the same report, the city experienced a significant reduction in high ozone days since 2001—from nearly 50 days per year to fewer than 10—along with fewer days of high particle pollution since 2000—from about 19 days per year to about 3—and an approximate 30% reduction in annual levels of particle pollution since 2000.[101] Five of the ten largest combined statistical areas (CSAs) were ranked higher for ozone: Los Angeles (1st), New York City (9th), Houston (12th), Dallas (13th), and San Jose (18th). Many smaller CSAs were also ranked higher for ozone including Sacramento (8th), Las Vegas (10th), Denver (11th), El Paso (16th), and Salt Lake City (20th); however, only two of those same ten CSAs—San Jose and Los Angeles—were ranked higher than Philadelphia for both year-round and short-term particle pollution.[102]

    According to the 2020 United States Census Bureau estimate, there were 1,603,797 people residing in Philadelphia, representing a 1.2% increase from the 2019 census.[63] After the 1950 Census, when a record high of 2,071,605 was recorded, the city’s population began a long decline. The population dropped to a low of 1,488,710 residents in 2006 before beginning to rise again. Between 2006 and 2017, Philadelphia added 92,153 residents. In 2017, the Census Bureau estimated that the racial composition of the city was 41.3% Black (non-Hispanic), 34.9% White (non-Hispanic), 14.1% Hispanic or Latino, 7.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, and 2.8% multiracial.[104]

    * 2019 figures are estimates

    The 2010 Census redistricting data indicated that the racial makeup of the city was 644,287 (42.2%) Black (non-Hispanic), 562,585 (36.9%) White (non-Hispanic), 96,405 (6.3%) Asian (2.0% Chinese, 1.2% Indian, 0.9% Vietnamese, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese, and 1.4% other), 6,996 (0.5%) Native Americans, 744 (0.05%) Pacific Islanders, and 43,070 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 187,611 persons (12.3%); 8.0% Puerto Rican, 1.0% Mexican, 0.3% Cuban, and 3.0% other. The racial breakdown of Philadelphia’s Hispanic/Latino population was 63,636 (33.9%) White, 17,552 (9.4%) Black, 3,498 (1.9%) Native American, 884 (0.47%) Asian, 287 (0.15%) Pacific Islander, 86,626 (46.2%) from other races, and 15,128 (8.1%) from two or more races.[106] The five largest European ancestries reported in the 2010 Census included Irish (13.0%), Italian (8.3%), German (8.2%), Polish (3.9%), and English (3.1%).[109]

    The estimated average population density was 11,782 people per square mile (4,549/km2) in 2017. In 2010, the Census Bureau reported that 1,468,623 people (96.2% of the population) lived in households, 38,007 (2.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 19,376 (1.3%) were institutionalized.[106] In 2013, the city reported having 668,247 total housing units, down slightly from 670,171 housing units in 2010. As of 2013[update], 87 percent of housing units were occupied, while 13 percent were vacant, a slight change from 2010 where 89.5 percent of units were occupied, or 599,736 and 10.5 percent were vacant, or 70,435.[106][110] Of the city’s residents, 32 percent reported having no vehicles available while 23 percent had two or more vehicles available, as of 2013[update].[110]

    In 2010, 24.9 percent of households reported having children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.3 percent were married couples living together and 22.5 percent had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0 percent had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.2 percent were non-families. The city reported 34.1 percent of all households were individuals living alone, while 10.5 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.20.[106] In 2013, the percentage of women who gave birth in the previous 12 months who were unmarried was 56 percent. Of Philadelphia’s adults, 31 percent were married or lived as a couple, 55 percent were not married, 11 percent were divorced or separated, and 3 percent were widowed.[110]

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in 2013 was $36,836, down 7.9 percent from 2008 when the inflation-adjusted median household income was $40,008 (in 2013 dollars). For comparison, on an inflation-adjusted basis, the median household income among metropolitan areas was $60,482, down 8.2 percent in the same period, and the national median household income was $55,250, down 7.0 percent from 2008.[110] The city’s wealth disparity is evident when neighborhoods are compared. Residents in Society Hill had a 2013 median household income of $93,720, while residents in one of North Philadelphia’s districts reported the lowest median household income, $14,185.[110]

    More recently, Philadelphia has experienced a large shift toward a younger age profile. In 2000, the city’s population pyramid had a largely stationary shape. In 2013, the city took on an expansive pyramid shape, with an increase in the three millennial age groups, 20 to 24, 25 to 29, and 30 to 34. The city’s 25- to 29-year-old age group was the city’s largest age cohort.[110] According to the 2010 Census, 343,837 (22.5%) were under the age of 18; 203,697 (13.3%) from 18 to 24; 434,385 (28.5%) from 25 to 44; 358,778 (23.5%) from 45 to 64; and 185,309 (12.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.4 males; while among individuals age 18 and over, for every 100 females, there were 85.7 males.[106] The city had 22,018 births in 2013, down from a peak 23,689 births in 2008. Philadelphia’s death rate was at its lowest in at least a half-century, 13,691 deaths in 2013.[110]

    Apart from economic growth, another factor contributing to the population increase is Philadelphia’s rising immigration rate. Like the millennial population, Philadelphia’s immigrant population is also growing rapidly. According to research by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the city’s foreign-born population had increased by 69% between 2000 and 2016 to constitute nearly 20% of Philadelphia’s work force,[112] and had doubled between 1990 and 2017 to constitute 13.8% of the city’s total population, with the top five countries of origin being China by a significant margin, followed by the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, India, and Vietnam.[113]

    Irish, Italian, German, Polish, English, Russian, Ukrainian, and French constitute the largest European ethnic groups in the city.[109] Philadelphia has the second-largest Irish and Italian populations in the United States, after New York City. South Philadelphia remains one of the largest Italian neighborhoods in the country and is home to the Italian Market. The Pennsport neighborhood and Gray’s Ferry section of South Philadelphia, home to many Mummer clubs, are well known as Irish neighborhoods. The Kensington, Port Richmond, and Fishtown neighborhoods have historically been heavily Irish and Polish. Port Richmond is well known in particular as the center of the Polish immigrant and Polish-American community in Philadelphia, and it remains a common destination for Polish immigrants. Northeast Philadelphia, although known for its Irish and Irish-American population, is also home to a large Jewish and Russian population. Mount Airy in Northwest Philadelphia also contains a large Jewish community, while nearby Chestnut Hill is historically known as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant community.

    Philadelphia has a significant gay and lesbian population. Philadelphia’s Gayborhood, which is near Washington Square, is home to a large concentration of gay and lesbian friendly businesses, restaurants, and bars.[115][116]

    The Black American population in Philadelphia is the third-largest in the country, after New York City and Chicago. West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia are largely African-American neighborhoods, but many are leaving those areas in favor of the Northeast and Southwest sections of Philadelphia. A higher proportion of African-American Muslims reside in Philadelphia than in most other cities in America. West Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia are also home to various significant Afro-Caribbean and African immigrant communities.[117]

    The Puerto Rican population in Philadelphia is the second-largest after New York City, and the second-fastest growing after Orlando.[118] Eastern North Philadelphia, particularly Fairhill and surrounding areas to the north and east, has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans outside Puerto Rico, with many large swaths of blocks being close to 100% Puerto Rican.[119][120] Large Puerto Rican and Dominican populations reside in North Philadelphia and the Northeast. In regard to other Latin American populations in Philadelphia, there are significant Mexican and Central American populations in South Philadelphia.[121]

    Philadelphia’s Asian American population originates mainly from China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, and the Philippines. Over 35,000 Chinese Americans lived in the city in 2015,[122] including a large Fuzhounese population. Center City hosts a growing Chinatown accommodating heavily traveled Chinese-owned bus lines to and from Chinatown, Manhattan in New York City, 95 miles to the north, as Philadelphia is experiencing significant Chinese immigration from New York City.[123] A large Korean community initially settled in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Olney; however, the primary Koreatown has subsequently shifted northward, straddling the border with the adjacent suburb of Cheltenham in Montgomery County, while also growing in nearby Cherry Hill, New Jersey. South Philadelphia is also home to large Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese communities. Philadelphia has the fifth largest Muslim population among American cities.[124]

    According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 68% of the population of the city identified themselves as Christian.[125] Approximately 41% of Christians in the city and area professed attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, while 26% professed Catholic beliefs.

    The Protestant Christian community in Philadelphia is dominated by mainline Protestant denominations including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church in the United States, Presbyterian Church (USA) and American Baptist Churches USA. One of the most prominent mainline Protestant jurisdictions is the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in Philadelphia. Historically, the city has strong connections to the Quakers, Unitarian Universalism, and the Ethical Culture movement, all of which continue to be represented in the city. The Quaker Friends General Conference is based in Philadelphia. Evangelical Protestants making up less than 15% of the population were also prevalent. Evangelical Protestant bodies included the Anglican Church in North America, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Presbyterian Church in America, and National Baptist Convention of America.

    The Catholic community is primarily served by the Latin Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of the United States of America and Canada, though some independent Catholic churches exist throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs. The Latin Church-based jurisdiction is headquartered in the city, and its see is the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The Ukrainian Catholic jurisdiction is also headquartered in Philadelphia, and is seated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

    Less than 1% of Philadelphia’s Christians were Mormons. The remainder of the Christian demographic is spread among smaller Protestant denominations and the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox among others. The Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania (Orthodox Church in America) and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Ecumenical Patriarchate) divide the Eastern Orthodox in Philadelphia. The Russian Orthodox St. Andrew’s Cathedral is in the city.

    The same study says that other religions collectively compose about 8% of the population, including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, and Hinduism.[126] The remaining 24% claimed no religious affiliation.

    The Philadelphia metropolitan area’s Jewish population was estimated at 206,000 in 2001, which was the sixth largest in the United States at that time.[127] Jewish traders were operating in southeastern Pennsylvania long before William Penn. Furthermore, Jews in Philadelphia took a prominent part in the War of Independence. Although the majority of the early Jewish residents were of Portuguese or Spanish descent, some among them had emigrated from Germany and Poland. About the beginning of the 19th century, a number of Jews from the latter countries, finding the services of the Congregation Mickvé Israel unfamiliar to them, resolved to form a new congregation which would use the ritual to which they had been accustomed.

    African diasporic religions are practiced in some Latino and Hispanic and Caribbean communities in North and West Philadelphia.[128][129]

    As of 2010[update], 79.12% (1,112,441) of Philadelphia residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 9.72% (136,688) spoke Spanish, 1.64% (23,075) Chinese, 0.89% (12,499) Vietnamese, 0.77% (10,885) Russian, 0.66% (9,240) French, 0.61% (8,639) other Asian languages, 0.58% (8,217) African languages, 0.56% (7,933) Cambodian (Mon-Khmer), and Italian was spoken as a main language by 0.55% (7,773) of the population over the age of five. In total, 20.88% (293,544) of Philadelphia’s population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.[130]

    Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania with the headquarters of five Fortune 1000 companies within city limits. As of 2019[update], the Philadelphia metropolitan area is estimated to produce a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $490 billion,[17] an increase from the $445 billion calculated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2017,[132] representing the eighth largest U.S. metropolitan economy.

    Philadelphia’s economic sectors include financial services, health care, biotechnology, information technology, trade and transportation, manufacturing, oil refining, food processing, and tourism. Financial activities account for the largest economic sector of the metropolitan area, which is also one of the largest health education and research centers in the United States.
    Philadelphia’s annualized unemployment rate was 7.8% in 2014, down from 10% the previous year.[110] This is higher than the national average of 6.2%. Similarly, the rate of new jobs added to the city’s economy lagged behind the national job growth. In 2014, about 8,800 jobs were added to the city’s economy. Sectors with the largest number of jobs added were in education and health care, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. Declines were seen in the city’s manufacturing and government sectors.[110]

    About 31.9% of the city’s population was not in the labor force in 2015, the second highest percentage after Detroit. The city’s two largest employers are the federal and city governments. Philadelphia’s largest private employer is the University of Pennsylvania followed by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.[110] A study commissioned by the city’s government in 2011 projected 40,000 jobs would be added to the city within 25 years, raising the number of jobs from 675,000 in 2010 to an estimated 715,000 by 2035.[133]

    The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and the headquarters of cable television and internet provider Comcast, Brandywine Realty Trust, insurance companies Cigna, Colonial Penn, and Independence Blue Cross, food services company Aramark, chemical makers FMC Corporation and Rohm and Haas, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, apparel retailer Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries including Anthropologie, automotive parts retailer Pep Boys, and stainless steel producer Carpenter Technology Corporation. The headquarters of Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, and its main rotorcraft factory, are in the Philadelphia suburb of Ridley Park, while The Vanguard Group and the US headquarters of Siemens Healthineers are headquartered in suburban Malvern.

    Philadelphia is a hub for information technology and biotechnology.[24] Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are attracting new life sciences ventures.[134] The Philadelphia metropolitan area, comprising the Delaware Valley, has also become a growing hub for venture capital funding.[134]

    Philadelphia’s history attracts many tourists, with the Independence National Historical Park (which includes the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other historic sites) receiving over 5 million visitors in 2016.[135] The city welcomed 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent $6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania.[23]

    Philadelphia International Airport is undergoing a $900 million infrastructural expansion to increase passenger capacity and augment passenger experience;[136][137] while the Port of Philadelphia, having experienced the highest percentage growth by tonnage loaded in 2017 among major U.S. seaports, was in the process of doubling its capacity to accommodate super-sized post-Panamax shipping vessels in 2018.[138] Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is the third-busiest Amtrak rail hub, following Penn Station in Manhattan and Union Station in Washington, D.C., carrying over 4 million inter-city rail passengers annually.[139]

    Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Philadelphia runs the city’s public schools. The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States[140] with 142,266 students in 218 traditional public schools and 86 charter schools as of 2014[update].[141]

    The city’s K-12 enrollment in district–run schools dropped from 156,211 students in 2010 to 130,104 students in 2015. During the same time period, the enrollment in charter schools increased from 33,995 students in 2010 to 62,358 students in 2015.[110] This consistent drop in enrollment led the city to close 24 of its public schools in 2013.[142] During the 2014 school year, the city spent an average of $12,570 per pupil, below the average among comparable urban school districts.[110]

    Graduation rates among district-run schools, meanwhile, steadily increased in the ten years from 2005. In 2005, Philadelphia had a district graduation rate of 52%. This number increased to 65% in 2014, still below the national and state averages. Scores on the state’s standardized test, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) trended upward from 2005 to 2011 but subsequently decreased. In 2005, the district-run schools scored an average of 37.4% on math and 35.5% on reading. The city’s schools reached their peak scores in 2011 with 59.0% on math and 52.3% on reading. In 2014, the scores dropped significantly to 45.2% on math and 42.0% on reading.[110]

    Of the city’s public high schools, including charter schools, only four performed above the national average on the SAT (1497 out of 2400[143]) in 2014: Masterman, Central, Girard, and MaST Community Charter School. All other district-run schools were below average.[110]

    Philadelphia has the third-largest student concentration on the East Coast, with more than 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area.[144] More than 80 colleges, universities, trade, and specialty schools are in the Philadelphia region. One of the founding members of the Association of American Universities is in the city, the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution with claims to be the First university in the United States.[145][28]

    The city’s largest school by number of students is Temple University, followed by Drexel University.[146] The University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University comprise the city’s nationally ranked research universities. Philadelphia is also home to five schools of medicine: Drexel University College of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, and Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Hospitals, universities, and higher education research institutions in Philadelphia’s four congressional districts received more than $252 million in National Institutes of Health grants in 2015.[147]

    Other institutions of higher learning within the city’s borders include:

    Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence National Historical Park is the center of these historical landmarks being one of the country’s 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city’s most famous attractions. Other national historic sites include the homes of Edgar Allan Poe and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, early government buildings like the First and the Second Bank of the United States, Fort Mifflin, and the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church.[148] Philadelphia alone has 67 National Historic Landmarks, the third most of any city in the country.[148]

    Philadelphia’s major science museums include the Franklin Institute, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial; the Academy of Natural Sciences; the Mütter Museum; and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. History museums include the National Constitution Center, the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia History Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania in the Masonic Temple, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia is home to the United States’ first zoo[149] and hospital,[150] as well as Fairmount Park, one of America’s oldest and largest urban parks,[22] founded in 1855.[151]

    The city is home to important archival repositories, including the Library Company of Philadelphia, established in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin,[152] and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, founded in 1814.[153] The Presbyterian Historical Society is the country’s oldest denominational historical society, organized in 1852.[154]

    The city contains many art museums, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, which holds the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside France. The city’s major art museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is one of the largest art museums in the world. The long flight of steps to the Art Museum’s main entrance became famous after the film Rocky (1976).[155]

    Areas such as South Street and Old City have a vibrant night life. The Avenue of the Arts in Center City contains many restaurants and theaters, such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy of Music, home of Opera Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet.[155] The Wilma Theatre and the Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre produce a variety of new plays.[156][157] Several blocks to the east are the Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephens Episcopal Church;[158] and the Walnut Street Theatre, a National Historic Landmark stated to be the oldest and most subscribed-to theatre in the English-speaking world, founded in 1809.[159] In May 2019, the Walnut Street Theatre announced a major expansion to begin in 2020.[160]

    Philadelphia has more public art than any other American city.[161] In 1872, the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) was created as the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning.[162] In 1959, lobbying by the Artists Equity Association helped create the Percent for Art ordinance, the first for a U.S. city.[163] The program, which has funded more than 200 pieces of public art, is administered by the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture, the city’s art agency.[164] The city also has more murals than any other American city, due to the 1984 creation of the Department of Recreation’s Mural Arts Program, which seeks to beautify neighborhoods and provide an outlet for graffiti artists. The program has funded more than 2,800 murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists and educated more than 20,000 youth in underserved neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.[165]

    The city is home to a number of art organizations including the regional art advocacy nonprofit Philadelphia Tri-State Artists Equity,[166] the Philadelphia Sketch Club, one of the country’s oldest artists’ clubs,[167] and The Plastic Club, started by women excluded from the Sketch Club.[168] Many Old City art galleries stay open late on the First Friday event of each month.[169] Annual events include film festivals and parades, the most famous being the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra is generally considered one of the top five orchestras in the United States. The orchestra performs at the Kimmel Center[170] and has a summer concert series at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.[171] Opera Philadelphia performs at the nation’s oldest continually operating opera house—the Academy of Music.[155] The Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale has performed its music all over the world.[172] The Philly Pops plays orchestral versions of popular jazz, swing, Broadway, and blues songs at the Kimmel Center and other venues within the mid-Atlantic region.[173] The Curtis Institute of Music is one of the world’s premier conservatories and among the most selective institutes of higher education in the United States.[174]

    Philadelphia has played a prominent role in the music of the United States. The culture of American popular music has been influenced by significant contributions of Philadelphia area musicians and producers, in both the recording and broadcasting industries. In 1952, the teen dance party program called Bandstand premiered on local television, hosted by Bob Horn. The show was renamed American Bandstand in 1957 when it began national syndication on ABC, hosted by Dick Clark and produced in Philadelphia until 1964 when it moved to Los Angeles.[175] Promoters marketed youthful musical artists known as teen idols to appeal to the young audience. Philadelphia-born singers such as Frankie Avalon, James Darren, Eddie Fisher, Fabian Forte, and Bobby Rydell, along with South Philly-raised Chubby Checker, topped the music charts, establishing a clean-cut rock and roll image.

    Philly soul music of the late 1960s–1970s is a highly produced version of soul music which led to later forms of popular music such as disco and urban contemporary rhythm and blues.[176] On July 13, 1985, John F. Kennedy Stadium was the American venue for the Live Aid concert.[177] The city also hosted the Live 8 concert, which attracted about 700,000 people to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 2, 2005.[178] Famous rock and pop musicians from Philadelphia or its suburbs include Bill Haley & His Comets, Todd Rundgren and Nazz, Hall & Oates, The Hooters, Ween, Cinderella, and Pink. Local hip-hop artists include The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Lil Uzi Vert, Beanie Sigel and his rap collective State Property, Schoolly D, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and Meek Mill.

    The city is known for its hoagies, stromboli, roast pork sandwich, scrapple, soft pretzels, water ice, Irish potato candy, tastykakes, and the cheesesteak sandwich which was developed by Italian immigrants.[179] The Philadelphia area has many establishments that serve cheesesteaks, including restaurants, taverns, delicatessens and pizza parlors.[180][181][182] The originator of the thinly-sliced steak sandwich in the 1930s, initially without cheese, is Pat’s King of Steaks, which faces its rival Geno’s Steaks, founded in 1966,[183] across the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in the Italian Market of South Philadelphia.[184]

    McGillin’s Olde Ale House, opened in 1860 on Drury Street in Center City, is the oldest continuously operated tavern in the city.[185] The City Tavern is a replica of a historic 18th-century building first opened in 1773, demolished in 1854 after a fire, and rebuilt in 1975 on the same site as part of Independence National Historical Park.[186] The tavern offers authentic 18th-century recipes, served in seven period dining rooms, three wine cellar rooms and an outdoor garden.[187]

    The Reading Terminal Market is a historic food market founded in 1893 in the Reading Terminal building, a designated National Historic Landmark. The enclosed market is one of the oldest and largest markets in the country, hosting over a hundred merchants offering Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, artisan cheese and meat, locally grown groceries, and specialty and ethnic foods.[188]

    The traditional Philadelphia accent is considered by some linguists to be the most distinctive accent in North America.[189] The Philadelphia dialect, which is spread throughout the Delaware Valley and South Jersey, is part of a larger Mid-Atlantic American English family, a designation that also includes the Baltimore dialect. Additionally, it shares many similarities with the New York accent. Owing to over a century of linguistic data collected by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania under sociolinguist William Labov, the Philadelphia dialect has been one of the best-studied forms of American English.[190][191][f] The accent is especially found within the Irish American and Italian American working-class neighborhoods.[192] Philadelphia also has its own unique collection of neologisms and slang terms.[193]

    Philadelphia’s first professional sports team was baseball’s Athletics, organized in 1860.[194] The Athletics were initially an amateur league team that turned professional in 1871, and then became a founding team of the current National League in 1876.[195] The city is one of 13 U.S. cities to have teams in all four major league sports: the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association. The Phillies, formed in 1883 as the Quakers and renamed in 1884,[196] are the oldest team continuously playing under the same name in the same city in the history of American professional sports.[197]

    The Philadelphia metro area is also home to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. The Union began playing their home games in 2010 at PPL Park, a soccer-specific stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.[198] The stadium’s name was changed to Talen Energy Stadium in 2016,[199] and to Subaru Park in 2020.[200]

    Philadelphia was the second of eight American cities to have won titles in all four major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA), and also has a title in soccer (from the now-defunct North American Soccer League in the 1970s). The city’s professional teams and their fans endured 25 years without a championship, from the 76ers 1983 NBA Finals win[201] until the Phillies 2008 World Series win.[202][203] The lack of championships was sometimes attributed in jest to the Curse of Billy Penn after One Liberty Place became the first building to surpass the height of the William Penn statue on top of City Hall’s tower in 1987.[204] After nine years passed without another championship, the Eagles won their first Super Bowl following the 2017 season.[205] In 2004, ESPN placed Philadelphia second on its list of The Fifteen Most Tortured Sports Cities.[206][207] Fans of the Eagles and Phillies were singled out as the worst fans in the country by GQ magazine in 2011, which used the subtitle of “Meanest Fans in America” to summarize incidents of drunken behavior and a history of booing.[208][209]

    Major professional sports teams that originated in Philadelphia but which later moved to other cities include the Golden State Warriors basketball team—in Philadelphia from 1946 to 1962[210]—and the Oakland Athletics baseball team—originally the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901 to 1954 (a different Athletics team than the one mentioned above).[211]

    Philadelphia is home to professional, semi-professional, and elite amateur teams in cricket, rugby league (Philadelphia Fight), and rugby union. Major running events in the city include the Penn Relays (track and field), the Philadelphia Marathon, and the Broad Street Run. The Philadelphia International Cycling Classic was held annually from 1985 to 2016, but not in 2017 due to insufficient sponsorship.[212] The Collegiate Rugby Championship is played every June at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.[213]

    Rowing has been popular in Philadelphia since the 18th century.[214] Boathouse Row is a symbol of Philadelphia’s rich rowing history, and each Big Five member has its own boathouse.[215] Philadelphia hosts numerous local and collegiate rowing clubs and competitions, including the annual Dad Vail Regatta, which is the largest intercollegiate rowing event in North America with more than 100 U.S and Canadian colleges and universities participating;[216] the annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta, which is billed as the world’s oldest and largest rowing event for high school students;[217][218] and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.[219] The regattas are held on the Schuylkill River and organized by the Schuylkill Navy, an association of area rowing clubs that has produced numerous Olympic rowers.[220]

    The Philadelphia Spinners were a professional ultimate team in Major League Ultimate (MLU) until 2016. The Spinners were one of the original eight teams of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) that began in 2012. They played at Franklin Field and won the inaugural AUDL championship and the final MLU championship in 2016.[221] The MLU was suspended indefinitely by its investors in December 2016.[222] As of 2018[update], the Philadelphia Phoenix continue to play in the AUDL.[223]

    Philadelphia is home to the Philadelphia Big 5, a group of five NCAA Division I college basketball programs. The Big 5 are La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, and Villanova universities.[224] The sixth NCAA Division I school in Philadelphia is Drexel University. Villanova won the 2016[225] and the 2018[226] championship of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

    From a governmental perspective, Philadelphia County is a legal nullity, as all county functions were assumed by the city in 1952.[227] The city has been coterminous with the county since 1854.[49]

    Philadelphia’s 1952 Home Rule Charter was written by the City Charter Commission, which was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in an act of April 21, 1949, and a city ordinance of June 15, 1949. The existing city council received a proposed draft on February 14, 1951, and the electors approved it in an election held April 17, 1951.[228] The first elections under the new Home Rule Charter were held in November 1951, and the newly elected officials took office in January 1952.[227]

    The city uses the strong-mayor version of the mayor–council form of government, which is led by one mayor in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor has the authority to appoint and dismiss members of all boards and commissions without the approval of the city council. Elected at-large, the mayor is limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but can run for the position again after an intervening term.[228]

    Philadelphia County is coterminous with the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas is the trial court of general jurisdiction for the city, hearing felony-level criminal cases and civil suits above the minimum jurisdictional limit of $10,000. The court also has appellate jurisdiction over rulings from the Municipal and Traffic Courts, and some administrative agencies and boards. The trial division has 70 commissioned judges elected by the voters, along with about one thousand other employees.[231] The court also has a family division with 25 judges[232] and an orphans’ court with three judges.[233]

    As of 2018[update], the city’s District Attorney is Larry Krasner, a Democrat.[234] The last Republican to hold the office is Ronald D. Castille, who left in 1991 and later served as the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 2008 to 2014.[235]

    The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles traffic cases, misdemeanor and felony criminal cases with maximum incarceration of five years, and civil cases involving $12,000 or less ($15,000 in real estate and school tax cases), and all landlord-tenant disputes. The municipal court has 27 judges elected by the voters.[236]

    Pennsylvania’s three appellate courts also have sittings in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hall.[237] The Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania also sit in Philadelphia several times a year.[238][239] Judges for these courts are elected at large.[240] The state Supreme Court and Superior Court have deputy prothonotary offices in Philadelphia.[241][242]

    Additionally, Philadelphia is home to the federal United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, both of which are housed in the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse.[243][244]

    The current mayor is Jim Kenney who won the election in November 2015.[245] Kenney’s predecessor was Michael Nutter who had served two terms from 2009 to January 2016.[246] Kenney is a member of the Democratic Party as all Philadelphia mayors have been since 1952. Philadelphia City Council is the legislative branch which consists of ten council members representing individual districts and seven members elected at-large, all of whom are elected to four-year terms.[247] Democrats are currently the majority and hold 14 seats including nine of the ten districts and five at-large seats. Republicans hold two seats, one at-large seats and the Northeast-based Tenth District, while Working Families Party holds one at-large seat. The current council president is Darrell L. Clarke.[248]

    As of December 31, 2016, there were 1,102,620 registered voters in Philadelphia.[249] Registered voters constitute 70.3% of the total population.[g]


    Philadelphia was a bastion of the Republican Party from the American Civil War until the mid-1930s.[251][252] The city hosted the first Republican National Convention in 1856.[253] Democratic registrations increased after the Great Depression; however, the city was not carried by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in his landslide victory of 1932 as Pennsylvania was one of only six states won by Republican Herbert Hoover. Voter turnout surged from 600,000 in 1932 to nearly 900,000 in 1936 and Roosevelt carried Philadelphia with over 60% of the vote. The city has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1936. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama drew 83% of the city’s vote. Obama’s win was even greater in 2012, capturing 85% of the vote. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won 82% of the vote.[250]

    As a result of the declining population in the city and state,[254] Philadelphia has only three congressional districts of the 18 districts in Pennsylvania, based on the 2010 Census apportionment:[255] the 2nd district, represented by Brendan Boyle; the 3rd, represented by Dwight Evans; and the 5th, represented by Mary Gay Scanlon.[256] All three representatives are Democrats though Republicans still have some support in the city, primarily in the Northeast.[257] Sam Katz ran competitive mayoral races as the Republican nominee in 1999 and 2003, losing to Democrat John Street both times.[258][259]

    Pennsylvania’s longest-serving Senator, Arlen Specter,[260] was an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania who opened his first law practice in Philadelphia.[261] Specter served as a Republican from 1981 and as a Democrat from 2009, losing that party’s primary in 2010 and leaving office in January 2011.[262] He had also been assistant counsel on the Warren Commission in 1964 and the city’s district attorney from 1966 to 1974.[261]

    Philadelphia has hosted various national conventions, including in 1848 (Whig), 1856 (Republican), 1872 (Republican), 1900 (Republican), 1936 (Democratic), 1940 (Republican), 1948 (Republican), 1948 (Progressive), 2000 (Republican), and 2016 (Democratic).[263] Philadelphia has been home to one vice president, George M. Dallas,[264] and one Civil War general, George B. McClellan, who won his party’s nomination for president but lost in the general election to Abraham Lincoln in 1864.[265] In May 2019, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden chose Philadelphia to be his 2020 U.S. presidential campaign headquarters.[266]

    “Green Cities, Clean Water” is an environmental policy initiative based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that has shown promising results in mitigating the effects of climate change.[267] The researchers on the policy have stated that despite such promising plans of green infrastructure building, “the city is forecasted to grow warmer, wetter, and more urbanized over the century, runoff and local temperatures will increase on average throughout the city”.[267] Even though landcover predictive models on the effects of the policy initiative have indicated that green infrastructure could be useful at decreasing the amount of runoff in the city over time, the city government would have to expand its current plans and “consider the cobenefit of climate change adaptation when planning new projects” in limiting the scope of city-wide temperature increase.[267]

    According to a 2015 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the police districts with the highest rates of violent crime were Frankford (15th district) and Kensington (24th district) in the Near Northeast, and districts to the North (22nd, 25th, and 35th districts), West (19th district) and Southwest (12th district) of Center City. Each of those seven districts recorded more than a thousand violent crimes in 2014. The lowest rates of violent crime occurred in Center City, South Philadelphia, the Far Northeast, and Roxborough districts, the latter of which includes Manayunk.[110]

    Philadelphia had 525 murders in 1990, a rate of 31.5 per 100,000. An average of about 400 murders occurred each year for most of the 1990s. The murder count dropped in 2002 to 288, then rose to 406 by 2006, before dropping slightly to 392 in 2007.[268] A few years later, Philadelphia began to see a rapid decline in homicides and violent crime. In 2013, the city had 246 murders, which is a decrease of nearly 40% since 2006.[269] In 2014, 248 homicides were committed. The homicide rate rose to 280 in 2015, then fell slightly to 277 in 2016, before rising again to 317 in 2017.[270]

    In 2006, Philadelphia’s homicide rate of 27.7 per 100,000 people was the highest of the country’s 10 most populous cities.[271] In 2012, Philadelphia had the fourth-highest homicide rate among the country’s most populous cities. The rate dropped to 16 homicides per 100,000 residents by 2014 placing Philadelphia as the sixth-highest city in the country.[110]

    The number of shootings in the city has declined significantly since the early years of the 21st century. Shooting incidents peaked at 1,857 in 2006 before declining nearly 44 percent to 1,047 shootings in 2014.[110] Major crimes have decreased gradually since a peak in 2006 when 85,498 major crimes were reported. The number of reported major crimes fell 11 percent in three years to 68,815 occurrences in 2014. Violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery, decreased 14 percent in three years to 15,771 occurrences in 2014.[110]

    Philadelphia was ranked as the 76th most dangerous city in a 2018 report based on FBI data from 2016 for the rate of violent crimes per 1,000 residents in American cities with 25,000 or more people.[272] The latest four years of reports indicate a steady reduction in violent crime as the city placed 67th in the 2017 report,[273] 65th in 2016,[274] and 54th in 2015.[275]

    In 2014, Philadelphia enacted an ordinance decriminalizing the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of hashish; the ordinance gave police officers the discretion to treat possession of these amounts as a civil infraction punishable by a $25 ticket, rather than a crime.[276][277] Philadelphia was at the time the largest city to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.[277] From 2013 to 2018, marijuana arrests in the city dropped by more than 85%.[276] The purchase or sale of marijuana remains a criminal offense in Philadelphia.[277]

    The Philadelphia Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services (EMS). The department’s official mission is to protect public safety by quick and professional response to emergencies and the promotion of sound emergency prevention measures. This mandate encompasses all traditional firefighting functions, including fire suppression, with 60 engine companies and 30 ladder companies[278] as well as specialty and support units deployed throughout the city; specialized firefighting units for Philadelphia International Airport and the Port of Philadelphia; investigations conducted by the fire marshal’s office to determine the origins of fires and develop preventive strategies; prevention programs to educate the public; and support services including research and planning, management of the fire communications center within the city’s 911 system, and operation of the Philadelphia Fire Academy.

    Philadelphia’s two major daily newspapers are The Philadelphia Inquirer, first published in 1829—the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the country—and the Philadelphia Daily News, first published in 1925.[279] The Daily News has been published as an edition of the Inquirer since 2009.[280] Recent owners of the Inquirer and Daily News have included Knight Ridder, The McClatchy Company, and Philadelphia Media Holdings, with the latter organization declaring bankruptcy in 2010.[281] After two years of financial struggle, the newspapers were sold to Interstate General Media in 2012.[281] The two newspapers had a combined daily circulation of 306,831 and a Sunday circulation of 477,313 in 2013[update]—the eighteenth largest circulation in the country—while the website of the newspapers, Philly.com,[282] was ranked thirteenth in popularity among online U.S. newspapers by Alexa Internet for the same year.[283]

    Smaller publications include the Philadelphia Tribune published five days each week for the African-American community;[284] Philadelphia magazine, a monthly regional magazine;[285] Philadelphia Weekly, a weekly alternative newspaper;[286] Philadelphia Gay News, a weekly newspaper for the LGBT community;[287] The Jewish Exponent, a weekly newspaper for the Jewish community;[288] Al Día, a weekly newspaper for the Latino community;[289] and Philadelphia Metro, a free daily newspaper.[290]

    Student-run newspapers include the University of Pennsylvania’s The Daily Pennsylvanian,[291] Temple University’s The Temple News,[292] and Drexel University’s The Triangle.[293]

    The first experimental radio license was issued in Philadelphia in August 1912 to St. Joseph’s College. The first commercial AM radio stations began broadcasting in 1922: first WIP, then owned by Gimbels department store, followed by WFIL, then owned by Strawbridge & Clothier department store, and WOO, a defunct station owned by Wanamaker’s department store, as well as WCAU and WDAS.[294]

    As of 2018[update], the FCC lists 28 FM and 11 am stations for Philadelphia.[295][296] As of December 2017, the ten highest-rated stations in Philadelphia were adult contemporary WBEB-FM (101.1), sports talk WIP-FM (94.1), classic rock WMGK-FM (102.9), urban adult contemporary WDAS-FM (105.3), classic hits WOGL-FM (98.1), album-oriented rock WMMR-FM (93.3), country music WXTU-FM (92.5), all-news KYW-AM (1060), talk radio WHYY-FM (90.9), and urban adult contemporary WRNB-FM (100.3).[297][298] Philadelphia is served by three non-commercial public radio stations: WHYY-FM (NPR),[299] WRTI-FM (classical and jazz),[300] and WXPN-FM (adult alternative music).[301]

    In the 1930s, the experimental station W3XE, owned by Philco, became the first television station in Philadelphia. The station became NBC’s first affiliate in 1939, and later became KYW-TV (currently a CBS affiliate). WCAU-TV, WFIL-TV, and WHYY-TV were all founded by the 1960s.[294] In 1952, WFIL (renamed WPVI) premiered the television show Bandstand, which later became the nationally broadcast American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark.[302]

    Each commercial network has an affiliate, and call letters have been replaced by corporate branding for promotional purposes: CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10, PHL17, Fox29, The CW Philly 57, UniMás Philadelphia, Telemundo62, and Univision65. The region is served also by public broadcasting stations WPPT-TV (Philadelphia), WHYY-TV (Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia), WLVT-TV (Lehigh Valley), and NJTV (New Jersey).[303]

    Philadelphia has owned-and-operated stations for all five major English-language broadcast networks: NBC – WCAU-TV, CBS – KYW-TV, ABC – WPVI-TV, Fox – WTXF-TV, and The CW – WPSG-TV. The major Spanish-language networks are Univision – WUVP-DT, UniMás – WFPA-CD, and Telemundo – WWSI-TV.[303]

    As of 2018[update], the city is the nation’s fourth-largest consumer in media market, as ranked by the Nielsen Media Research firm, with nearly 2.9 million TV households.[304]

    Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) which operates buses, trains, rapid transit (subway and elevated trains), trolleys, and trackless trolleys (electric buses) throughout Philadelphia, the four Pennsylvania suburban counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, in addition to service to Mercer County, New Jersey (Trenton) and New Castle County, Delaware (Wilmington and Newark, Delaware).[305] The city’s subway system consists of two routes: the subway section of the Market–Frankford Line running east–west under Market Street which opened in 1905 to the west and 1908 to the east of City Hall,[306] and the Broad Street Line running north–south beneath Broad Street which opened in stages from 1928 to 1938.[307]

    Beginning in the 1980s, large sections of the SEPTA Regional Rail service to the far suburbs of Philadelphia were discontinued due to a lack of funding for equipment and infrastructure maintenance.[308][309][310]

    Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is a major railroad station on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor with 4.4 million passengers in 2017 making it the third-busiest station in the country after New York City’s Pennsylvania Station and Washington’s Union Station.[311] 30th Street Station offers access to Amtrak,[312] SEPTA,[313] and NJ Transit lines.[314] Over 12 million SEPTA and NJ Transit rail commuters use the station each year, and more than 100,000 people on an average weekday.[311]

    The PATCO Speedline provides rapid transit service to Camden, Collingswood, Westmont, Haddonfield, Woodcrest (Cherry Hill), Ashland (Voorhees), and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.[315]

    Two airports serve Philadelphia: the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is 7 mi (11 km) south-southwest of Center City on the boundary with Delaware County, providing scheduled domestic and international air service,[316] while Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE) is a general aviation relief airport in Northeast Philadelphia serving general and corporate aviation.[317] Philadelphia International Airport is among the busiest airports in the world measured by traffic movements (i.e., takeoffs and landings).[318] More than 30 million passengers pass through the airport annually on 25 airlines, including all major domestic carriers. The airport has nearly 500 daily departures to more than 120 destinations worldwide.[316] SEPTA’s Airport Regional Rail Line provides direct service between Center City railroad stations and Philadelphia International Airport.[319]

    William Penn planned Philadelphia with numbered streets traversing north and south, and streets named for trees, such as Chestnut, Walnut, and Mulberry, traversing east and west. The two main streets were named Broad Street (the north–south artery, since designated Pennsylvania Route 611) and High Street (the east–west artery, since renamed Market Street) converging at Centre Square which later became the site of City Hall.[320]

    Interstate 95 (the Delaware Expressway) traverses the southern and eastern edges of the city along the Delaware River as the main north–south controlled-access highway, connecting Philadelphia with Newark, New Jersey and New York City to the north and with Baltimore and Washington, D.C. southward. The city is also served by Interstate 76 (the Schuylkill Expressway), which runs along the Schuylkill River, intersecting the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia and providing access to Harrisburg and points west. Interstate 676 (the Vine Street Expressway) links I-95 and I-76 through Center City by running below street level between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Vine Street. Entrance and exit ramps for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge are near the eastern end of the expressway, just west of the I-95 interchange.[321]

    The Roosevelt Boulevard and Expressway (U.S. 1) connect Northeast Philadelphia with Center City via I-76 through Fairmount Park. Woodhaven Road (Route 63) and Cottman Avenue (Route 73) serve the neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia, running between I-95 and the Roosevelt Boulevard. The Fort Washington Expressway (Route 309) extends north from the city’s northern border, serving Montgomery County and Bucks County. U.S. Route 30 (Lancaster Avenue) extends westward from West Philadelphia to Lancaster.[321]

    Interstate 476 (locally referred to as the Blue Route[322]) traverses Delaware County, bypassing the city to the west and serving the city’s western suburbs, as well as providing a link to Allentown and points north. Interstate 276 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Delaware River extension) acts as a bypass and commuter route to the north of the city as well as a link to the New Jersey Turnpike and New York City.[321]

    The Delaware River Port Authority operates four bridges in the Philadelphia area across the Delaware River to New Jersey: the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and U.S. 30), the Betsy Ross Bridge (New Jersey Route 90), and the Commodore Barry Bridge (U.S. 322 in Delaware County, south of the city).[323] The Burlington County Bridge Commission maintains two bridges across the Delaware River: the Tacony–Palmyra Bridge which connects PA Route 73 in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia with New Jersey Route 73 in Palmyra, Burlington County, and the Burlington–Bristol Bridge which connects NJ Route 413/U.S. Route 130 in Burlington, New Jersey with PA Route 413/U.S. 13 in Bristol Township, north of Philadelphia.[324]

    Philadelphia is a hub for Greyhound Lines. The Greyhound terminal is at 1001 Filbert Street (at 10th Street) in Center City, southeast of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and south of Chinatown.[325] Several other bus operators provide service at the Greyhound terminal including Fullington Trailways,[326] Martz Trailways,[327] Peter Pan Bus Lines,[328] and NJ Transit buses.[329]

    Other intercity bus services include Megabus with stops at 30th Street Station and the visitor center for Independence Hall,[330] BoltBus (operated by Greyhound) at 30th Street Station,[331] OurBus at various stops in the city.

    Since the early days of rail transportation in the United States, Philadelphia has served as a hub for several major rail companies, particularly the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad first operated Broad Street Station, then 30th Street Station and Suburban Station, and the Reading Railroad operated Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The two companies also operated competing commuter rail systems in the area. The two systems now operate as a single system under the control of SEPTA, the regional transit authority. Additionally, the PATCO Speedline subway system and NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line operate successor services to southern New Jersey.[332]

    In 1911, Philadelphia had nearly 4,000 electric trolleys running on 86 lines.[333] In 2005, SEPTA reintroduced trolley service to the Girard Avenue Line, Route 15.[334] SEPTA operates six “subway-surface” trolleys that run on street-level tracks in West Philadelphia and subway tunnels in Center City, along with two surface trolleys in adjacent suburbs.[335]

    Philadelphia is a regional hub of the federally owned Amtrak system, with 30th Street Station being a primary stop on the Washington-Boston Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. 30th Street also serves as a major station for services via the Pennsylvania Railroad’s former Pennsylvania Main Line to Chicago. As of 2018[update], 30th Street is Amtrak’s third-busiest station in the country, after New York City and Washington.[139]

    A 2017 study by Walk Score ranked Philadelphia the fifth most walkable major city in the United States with a score of 79 out of 100, in the middle of the “very walkable” range. The city was just edged out by fourth place Miami (79.2), with the top three cities being New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Philadelphia placed fifth in the public transit friendly category, behind Washington, D.C., with the same three cities for walkability topping this category. The city ranked tenth in the bike friendly cities category, with the top three cities being Minneapolis, San Francisco and Portland.[336]

    The readers of USA Today newspaper voted the Schuylkill River Trail the best urban trail in the nation in 2015.[337]

    In 1815, Philadelphia began sourcing its water via the Fairmount Water Works on the Schuylkill River, the nation’s first major urban water supply system. In 1909, the Water Works was decommissioned as the city transitioned to modern sand filtration methods.[338] Today, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) provides drinking water, wastewater collection, and stormwater services for Philadelphia, as well as surrounding counties. PWD draws about 57 percent of its drinking water from the Delaware River and the balance from the Schuylkill River.[339] The city has two filtration plants on the Schuylkill River and one on the Delaware River. The three plants can treat up to 546 million gallons of water per day, while the total storage capacity of the combined plant and distribution system exceeds one billion gallons. The wastewater system consists of three water pollution control plants, 21 pumping stations, and about 3,657 miles (5,885 km) of sewers.[339]

    Exelon subsidiary PECO Energy Company, founded as the Brush Electric Light Company of Philadelphia in 1881 and renamed Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) in 1902, provides electricity to about 1.6 million customers and more than 500,000 natural gas customers in the southeastern Pennsylvania area including the city of Philadelphia and most of its suburbs.[340] PECO is the largest electric and natural gas utility in the state with 472 power substations and nearly 23,000 miles (37,000 km) of electric transmission and distribution lines, along with 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of natural gas transmission, distribution & service lines.[341]

    Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), overseen by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, is the nation’s largest municipally-owned natural gas utility. PGW serves over 500,000 homes and businesses in the Philadelphia area.[342] Founded in 1836, the company came under city ownership in 1987 and has been providing the majority of gas distributed within city limits. In 2014, the City Council refused to conduct hearings on a $1.86 billion sale of PGW, part of a two-year effort that was proposed by the mayor. The refusal led to the prospective buyer terminating its offer.[343][344]

    Southeastern Pennsylvania was assigned the 215 area code in 1947 when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect. The geographic area covered by the code was split nearly in half in 1994 when area code 610 was created, with the city and its northern suburbs retaining 215. Overlay area code 267 was added to the 215 service area in 1997, and 484 was added to the 610 area in 1999. A plan in 2001 to introduce a third overlay code to both service areas (area code 445 to 215, area code 835 to 610) was delayed and later rescinded.[345] Area code 445 was implemented as an overlay for area codes 215 and 267 starting on February 3, 2018.[346]

    Philadelphia also has three partnership cities or regions:[355]

    Philadelphia has eight official sister cities as designated by the Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia:[355] Philadelphia has dedicated landmarks to its sister cities. The Sister Cities Park, a site of 0.5 acres (2,400 sq yd) at 18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway within Logan Square, was dedicated in June 1976. The park was built to commemorate Philadelphia’s first two sister city relationships, with Tel Aviv and Florence. The Toruń Triangle, honoring the sister city relationship with Toruń, Poland, was constructed in 1976, west of the United Way building at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Sister Cities Park was redesigned and reopened in 2012, featuring an interactive fountain honoring Philadelphia’s sister and partnership cities, a café and visitor’s center, children’s play area, outdoor garden, and boat pond, as well as a pavilion built to environmentally friendly standards.[359][360]

    The Chinatown Gate, erected in 1984 and crafted by artisans of Tianjin, stands astride 10th Street, on the north side of its intersection with Arch Street, as a symbol of the sister city relationship. The CDI of Philadelphia has participated in the U.S. Department of State’s “Partners for Peace” project with Mosul, Iraq,[361] as well as accepting visiting delegations from dozens of other countries.[362]

    The Susquehanna-Delaware watershed divides bound the frequently contested ‘hunting grounds’ between the rival Susquehannock peoples and the Lenape peoples, whilst the Catskills and Berkshires played a similar boundary role in the northern regions of their original colonial era range.


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    Pennsylvania (US: /ˌpɛnsəlˈveɪniə/ (listen) PEN-səl-VAY-nee-ə, elsewhere /-sɪlˈ-/ -⁠sil-; Pennsylvania German: Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked state in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east, while the Appalachian Mountains run through its middle.

    Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, and the 5th-most populous state with a total population of 13,011,844[5] according to the most recent official U.S. Census count in 2020. It is the 9th-most densely populated of the 50 states. Pennsylvania’s two most populous metropolitan areas are the Delaware Valley, centered around the state’s largest city Philadelphia (6.25 million), and Greater Pittsburgh (2.37 million). The state capital and its 15th-largest municipality is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront along Lake Erie and the Delaware River.[8]

    The state is one of the Thirteen original founding states of the United States; it came into being in 1681 as a result of a royal land grant to William Penn, the son of the state’s namesake. Part of Pennsylvania (along the Delaware River), together with the present State of Delaware, had earlier been organized as the Colony of New Sweden. It was the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, on December 12, 1787. Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were drafted, is located in Philadelphia, the state’s largest city. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in the south central region of the state. Valley Forge near Philadelphia was General Washington’s headquarters during the bitter winter of 1777–78.

    Historically, as of 1600, the tribes living in Pennsylvania were the Algonquian Lenape (also Delaware), the Iroquoian Susquehannock, and Petun (also Tionontati, Kentatentonga, Tobacco, Wenro)[9] and the presumably Siouan Monongahela Culture, who may have been the same as a little known tribe called the Calicua, or Cali.[10] Other tribes who entered the region during the colonial era were the Trockwae,[11] Tutelo, Saponi, Shawnee, Nanticoke, Conoy Piscataway, Iroquois Confederacy—likely among others.[12][13][14][15]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Other tribes, like the Erie, may have once held land in Pennsylvania, but no longer did so by the year 1600.[16]

    Both the Dutch and the English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as part of their colonial lands in America.[17][18][19] The Dutch were the first to take possession.[19]

    By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had begun settling the Delmarva Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present-day Lewes, Delaware.[20] In 1638, Sweden established the New Sweden Colony, in the region of Fort Christina, on the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) but settled few colonists there.[21][22]

    On March 12, 1664, King Charles II of England gave James, Duke of York a grant that incorporated all lands included in the original Virginia Company of Plymouth Grant plus other lands. This grant was in conflict with the Dutch claim for New Netherland, which included parts of today’s Pennsylvania.[23]

    On June 24, 1664, the Duke of York sold the portion of his large grant that included present-day New Jersey to John Berkeley and George Carteret for a proprietary colony. The land was not yet in British possession, but the sale boxed in the portion of New Netherland on the West side of the Delaware River. The British conquest of New Netherland began on August 29, 1664, when New Amsterdam was coerced to surrender while facing cannons on British ships in New York Harbor.[24][25] This conquest continued, and was completed in October 1664, when the British captured Fort Casimir in what today is New Castle, Delaware.

    The Peace of Breda between England, France and the Netherlands confirmed the English conquest on July 21, 1667,[26][27] although there were temporary reversions.

  • 80 million dollars in rupees
  • On September 12, 1672, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch re-conquered New York Colony/New Amsterdam, establishing three County Courts, which went on to become original Counties in present-day Delaware and Pennsylvania. The one that later transferred to Pennsylvania was Upland.[28] This was partially reversed on February 9, 1674, when the Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and reverted all political situations to the status quo ante bellum. The British retained the Dutch Counties with their Dutch names.[29] By June 11, 1674, New York reasserted control over the outlying colonies, including Upland, but the names started to be changed to British names by November 11, 1674.[30] Upland was partitioned on November 12, 1674, producing the general outline of the current border between Pennsylvania and Delaware.[31]

    On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted a land charter[32] to William Penn to repay a debt of £16,000[33] (around £2,100,000 in 2008, adjusting for retail inflation)[34] owed to William’s father, Admiral William Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history.[35] The King named it Pennsylvania (literally “Penn’s Woods”) in honor of Admiral Penn; the Admiral’s son who proposed that the land be called New Wales and then, after objections, Sylvania (from the Latin silva: “forest, woods”), was embarrassed at the change from the latter proposed form, fearing that people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles would not rename the grant.[36] Penn established a government with two innovations that were much copied in the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious conviction.[35]

    What had been Upland on what became the Pennsylvania side of the Pennsylvania-Delaware Border was renamed as Chester County when Pennsylvania instituted their colonial governments on March 4, 1681.[37][38] The Quaker leader William Penn had signed a peace treaty with Tammany, leader of the Delaware tribe, beginning a long period of friendly relations between the Quakers and the Indians.[39] Additional treaties between Quakers and other tribes followed. The treaty of William Penn was never violated.[40][41][42]

    Between 1730 and when it was shut down by Parliament with the Currency Act of 1764, the Pennsylvania Colony made its own paper money to account for the shortage of actual gold and silver. The paper money was called Colonial Scrip. The Colony issued “bills of credit”, which were as good as gold or silver coins because of their legal tender status. Since they were issued by the government and not a banking institution, it was an interest-free proposition, largely defraying the expense of the government and therefore taxation of the people. It also promoted general employment and prosperity, since the Government used discretion and did not issue too much to inflate the currency. Benjamin Franklin had a hand in creating this currency, of which he said its utility was never to be disputed, and it also met with the “cautious approval” of Adam Smith.[43]

    James Smith wrote that in 1763, “the Indians again commenced hostilities, and were busily engaged in killing and scalping the frontier inhabitants in various parts of Pennsylvania.” Further, “This state was then a Quaker government, and at the first of this war the frontiers received no assistance from the state.”[44] The ensuing hostilities became known as Pontiac’s War.

    After the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, Delegate John Dickinson of Philadelphia wrote the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The Congress was the first meeting of the Thirteen Colonies, called at the request of the Massachusetts Assembly, but only nine colonies sent delegates.[45] Dickinson then wrote Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, To the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, which were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 2, 1767, and February 15, 1768.[46]

    When the Founding Fathers of the United States convened in Philadelphia in 1774, 12 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress.[47] The Second Continental Congress, which also met in Philadelphia (in May 1775), drew up and signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia,[48] but when that city was captured by the British, the Continental Congress escaped westward, meeting at the Lancaster courthouse on Saturday, September 27, 1777, and then to York. There they and its primary author, John Dickinson, drew up the Articles of Confederation that formed 13 independent States[49] into a new union. Later, the Constitution was written, and Philadelphia was once again chosen to be cradle to the new American Union.[50] The Constitution was drafted and signed at the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, and the same building where the Declaration of Independence was signed.[51]

    Pennsylvania became the first large state, and the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 12, 1787,[52] five days after Delaware became the first. At the time it was the most ethnically and religiously diverse of the thirteen States. Because one-third of Pennsylvania’s population spoke German, the Constitution was presented in German to include those citizens in the discussion. Reverend Frederick Muhlenberg acted as the chairman of the state’s ratifying convention.[53]

    Dickinson College of Carlisle was the first college founded after the States united. Established in 1773, the college was ratified five days after the Treaty of Paris on September 9, 1783. The school was founded by Benjamin Rush and named after John Dickinson.

    For half a century, the Commonwealth’s General Assembly (legislature) met at various places in the general Philadelphia area before starting to meet regularly in Independence Hall in Philadelphia for 63 years.[54] But it needed a more central location, as for example the Paxton Boys massacres of 1763 had made the legislature aware. So, in 1799 the General Assembly moved to the Lancaster Courthouse,[54] and finally in 1812 to Harrisburg.[54]

    The General Assembly met in the old Dauphin County Court House until December 1821,[54] when the Federal-style “Hills Capitol” (named for its builder, Stephen Hills, a Lancaster architect) was constructed on a hilltop land grant of four acres set aside for a seat of state government by the prescient, entrepreneurial son and namesake of John Harris, Sr., a Yorkshire native who had founded a trading post in 1705 and ferry (1733) on the east shore of the Susquehanna River.[55] The Hills Capitol burned down on February 2, 1897, during a heavy snowstorm, presumably because of a faulty flue.[54]
    The General Assembly met at Grace Methodist Church on State Street (still standing) until a new capitol could be built. Following an architectural selection contest that many alleged had been “rigged”, Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb was charged with designing and building a replacement building; however, the legislature had little money to allocate to the project, and a roughly finished, somewhat industrial building (the Cobb Capitol) was completed. The General Assembly refused to occupy the building. Political and popular indignation in 1901 prompted a second contest that was restricted to Pennsylvania architects, and Joseph Miller Huston of Philadelphia was chosen to design the present Pennsylvania State Capitol that incorporated Cobb’s building into magnificent public work finished and dedicated in 1907.[54]

    The new state Capitol drew rave reviews.[54] Its dome was inspired by the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the United States Capitol.[54] President Theodore Roosevelt called it “the most beautiful state Capital in the nation” and said, “It’s the handsomest building I ever saw” at the dedication. In 1989, The New York Times praised it as “grand, even awesome at moments, but it is also a working building, accessible to citizens … a building that connects with the reality of daily life”.[54]

    James Buchanan, of Franklin County, the only bachelor president of the United States (1857–1861),[56] was the first president to be born in Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg—the major turning point of the Civil War—took place near Gettysburg.[57] An estimated 350,000 Pennsylvanians served in the Union Army forces including 8,600 African American military volunteers.

    Pennsylvania was also the home of the first commercially drilled oil well. In 1859, near Titusville, Pennsylvania, Edwin Drake successfully drilled the well, which led to the first major oil boom in United States history.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, Pennsylvania’s economy centered on steel production, logging, coal mining, textile production and other forms of industrial manufacturing. A surge in immigration to the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided a steady flow of cheap labor for these industries, which often employed children and people who could not speak English.

    In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge established the Allegheny National Forest under the authority of the Weeks Act of 1911.[58] The forest is located in the northwest part of the state in Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren Counties for the purposes of timber production and watershed protection in the Allegheny River basin. The Allegheny is the state’s only national forest.[59]

    The Three Mile Island accident was the most significant nuclear accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history.[60][61]

    United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville during the September 11th attacks, killing 44.

    Within the first half of 2003, the annual Tekko commences in Pittsburgh.[62]

    In October 2018, the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation experienced the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.[63]

    Pennsylvania is 170 miles (274 km) north to south and 283 miles (455 km) east to west.[64] Of a total 46,055 square miles (119,282 km2), 44,817 square miles (116,075 km2) are land, 490 square miles (1,269 km2) are inland waters, and 749 square miles (1,940 km2) are waters in Lake Erie.[65] It is the 33rd-largest state in the United States.[66]
    Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km)[67] of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km)[8] of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. Of the original Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.

    The boundaries of the state are the Mason–Dixon line (39°43′ N) to the south, the Twelve-Mile Circle on the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, the Delaware River to the east, 80°31′ W to the west and the 42° N to the north, except for a short segment on the western end, where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie.

    Cities include Philadelphia, Reading, Lebanon and Lancaster in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, and the tri-cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton in the central east (known as the Lehigh Valley). The northeast includes the former anthracite coal mining cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Nanticoke, and Hazleton. Erie is located in the northwest. State College serves the central region while Williamsport serves the commonwealth’s north-central region as does Chambersburg in the south-central region, with York, Carlisle, and the state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River in the east-central region of the Commonwealth and Altoona and Johnstown in the west-central region.

    The state has five geographical regions, namely the Allegheny Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and the Erie Plain.

    Pennsylvania’s diverse topography also produces a variety of climates, though the entire state experiences cold winters and humid summers. Straddling two major zones, the majority of the state, except for the southeastern corner, has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb). The southern portion of the state has a humid subtropical climate. The largest city, Philadelphia, has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa).

    Summers are generally hot and humid. Moving toward the mountainous interior of the state, the winter climate becomes colder, the number of cloudy days increases, and snowfall amounts are greater. Western areas of the state, particularly locations near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches (250 cm) of snowfall annually, and the entire state receives plentiful precipitation throughout the year. The state may be subject to severe weather from spring through summer into autumn. Tornadoes occur annually in the state, sometimes in large numbers, such as 30 recorded tornadoes in 2011; generally speaking, these tornadoes do not cause significant damage.[68]

    Pennsylvania is divided into 67 counties.[74] Counties are further subdivided into municipalities that are either incorporated as cities, boroughs, or townships.[75] One county, Philadelphia County, is coterminous with the city of Philadelphia after it was consolidated in 1854. The most populous county in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, while the least populous is Cameron (4,547).[76]

    There are a total of 56 cities in Pennsylvania, which are classified, by population, as either first-, second-, or third-class cities.[74][77] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, has a population of 1.6 million and is the state’s only first-class city.[75] Pittsburgh (303,000) and Scranton (76,000) are second-class and second-class ‘A’ cities, respectively.[75]

    The rest of the cities, like the third and fourth-largest—Allentown (126,000) and Reading (95,000)—to the smallest—Parker with a population of only 820—are third-class cities.[78] First- and second-class cities are governed by a “strong mayor” form of mayor–council government, whereas third-class cities are governed by either a “weak mayor” form of government or a council–manager government.[75]
    who signed the constitution and declaration

    Boroughs are generally smaller than cities, with most Pennsylvania cities having been incorporated as a borough before being incorporated as a city.[75] There are 958  boroughs in Pennsylvania, all of which are governed by the “weak mayor” form of mayor-council government.[74][75] The largest borough in Pennsylvania is State College (40,501) and the smallest is Centralia.

    Townships are the third type of municipality in Pennsylvania and are classified as either first-class or second-class townships. There are 1,454 second-class townships and 93 first-class townships.[79] Second-class townships can become first-class townships if they have a population density greater than 300 inhabitants per square mile (120/km2) and a referendum is passed supporting the change.[79] Pennsylvania’s largest township is Upper Darby Township (85,681), and the smallest is East Keating Township.

    There is one exception to the types of municipalities in Pennsylvania: Bloomsburg was incorporated as a town in 1870 and is, officially, the only town in the state.[80] In 1975, McCandless Township adopted a home-rule charter under the name of “Town of McCandless”, but is, legally, still a first-class township.[81]

    The total of 56 cities, 958 boroughs, 93 first-class townships, 1,454 second-class townships, and one town (Bloomsburg) is 2,562 municipalities.

    As of the 2020 U.S. census, Pennsylvania had a population of 13,011,844, up from 12,702,379 in 2010. In 2019, net migration to other states resulted in a decrease of 27,718, and immigration from other countries resulted in an increase of 127,007. Net migration to the Commonwealth was 98,289. Migration of native Pennsylvanians resulted in a decrease of 100,000 people. From 2008 to 2012, 5.8% of the population was foreign-born.[84]

    Of the people residing in Pennsylvania, 74.5% were born in Pennsylvania, 18.4% were born in a different U.S. state, 1.5% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s), and 5.6% were foreign born.[89] Foreign-born Pennsylvanians are largely from Asia (36.0%), Europe (35.9%), and Latin America (30.6%), with the remainder from Africa (5%), North America (3.1%), and Oceania (0.4%).

    The largest ancestry groups are listed below, expressed as a percentage of total people who responded with a particular ancestry for the 2010 census:[90][91]

    As of 2011, 32.1% of Pennsylvania’s population younger than age 1 were minorities.[95]

    Pennsylvania’s Hispanic population grew by 82.6% between 2000 and 2010, making it one of the largest increases in a state’s Hispanic population. The significant growth of the Hispanic population is due to immigration to the state mainly from Puerto Rico, which is a US territory, but to a lesser extent from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and various Central and South American nations, as well as from the wave of Hispanics leaving New York and New Jersey for safer and more affordable living. The Asian population swelled by almost 60%, which was fueled by Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese immigration, as well the many Asian transplants moving to Philadelphia from New York. The rapid growth of this community has given Pennsylvania one of the largest Asian populations in the nation by numerical values. The Black and African American population grew by 13%, which was the largest increase in that population amongst the state’s peers (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan). Twelve other states saw decreases in their White populations.[96] The state has a high in-migration of black and Hispanic people from other nearby states, with eastern and south-central portions of the state seeing the bulk of the increases.[76][97]

    The majority of Hispanics in Pennsylvania are of Puerto Rican descent, having one of the largest and fastest-growing Puerto Rican populations in the country.[98][99] Most of the remaining Hispanic population is made up of Mexicans and Dominicans. Most Hispanics are concentrated in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and South Central Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s reported population of Hispanics, especially among the Black race, has markedly increased in recent years.[100] The Hispanic population is greatest in Bethlehem, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York, and around Philadelphia. It is not clear how much of this change reflects a changing population and how much reflects increased willingness to self-identify minority status. As of 2010, it is estimated that about 85% of all Hispanics in Pennsylvania live within a 150-mile (240 km) radius of Philadelphia, with about 20% living within the city itself.

    Of the black population, the vast majority in the state are African American, being descendants of African slaves brought to the US south during the colonial era. There are also a growing number of blacks of West Indian, recent African, and Hispanic origins.[101] Most blacks live in the Philadelphia area, Pittsburgh, and South Central Pennsylvania. Whites make up the majority of Pennsylvania; they are mostly descended from German, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Italian, and English immigrants. Rural portions of South Central Pennsylvania are famous nationwide for their notable Amish communities. The Wyoming Valley, consisting of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, has the highest percentage of white residents of any metropolitan area (with a population of 500,000 or above) in the U.S., with 96.2% of its population claiming to be white with no Hispanic background.

    The center of population of Pennsylvania is located in Perry County, in the borough of Duncannon.[102]

    The state had the fourth-highest proportion of elderly (65+) citizens in 2010—15.4%, as compared to 13.0% nationwide.[103] According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the state’s poverty rate was 12.5% in 2017, compared to 13.4% for the United States as a whole.[104]

    Note: Births in table do not add up because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.

    As of 2010, 90.2% (10,710,239) of Pennsylvania residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 4.1% (486,058) spoke Spanish, 0.8% (103,502) German (which includes Pennsylvania Dutch) and 0.5% (56,052) Chinese (which includes Mandarin) of the population over the age of five. In total, 9.9% (1,170,628) of Pennsylvania’s population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.[112]

    Pennsylvania German is often—even though misleadingly—called “Pennsylvania Dutch”. The term Dutch used to mean “German”[113] (including the Netherlands), before the Latin name for them replaced it (but stuck with the Netherlands). When referring to the language spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch people (Pennsylvania German) it means “German” or “Teutonic” rather than “Netherlander”. Germans, in their own language, call themselves “Deutsch”, (Pennsylvania German: “Deitsch”). The Pennsylvania German language is a descendant of German, in the West Central German dialect family. It is closest to Palatine German. Pennsylvania German is still very vigorous as a first language among Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites (principally in the Lancaster County area), whereas it is almost extinct as an everyday language outside the plain communities, though a few words have passed into English usage.

    Of all the colonies, only Rhode Island had religious freedom as secure as in Pennsylvania.[115] Voltaire, writing of William Penn in 1733, observed: “The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill-treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God.”[116] One result of this uncommon freedom was a wide religious diversity, which continues to the present.

    Pennsylvania’s population in 2010 was 12,702,379. Of these, 6,838,440 (53.8%) were estimated to belong to some sort of organized religion. According to the Association of religion data archives (ARDA) at Pennsylvania State University, the largest religions in Pennsylvania by adherents are the Roman Catholic Church with 3,503,028 adherents, the United Methodist Church with 591,734 members, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 501,974 members.

    Pennsylvania, especially in the west and in the Pittsburgh area, has one of the largest communities of Presbyterians in the nation, being the third highest by percentage of population and the largest outright in membership.[117] The Presbyterian Church (USA), with about 250,000 members and 1,011 congregations, is the largest church, while the Presbyterian Church in America is also significant, with 112 congregations and 23,000 adherents; the EPC has around 50 congregations, as well as the ECO. The fourth-largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ, has 180,000 members and 627 congregations. American Baptist Churches USA (Northern Baptist Convention) is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania was the center state of the German Reformed denomination from the 1700s.[118] Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is one of the headquarters of the Moravian Church in America. Pennsylvania also has a very large Amish population, second only to Ohio among the states.[119] In the year 2000 there was a total Amish population of 47,860 in Pennsylvania and a further 146,416 Mennonites and 91,200 Brethren. The total Anabapist population including Bruderhof[120] was 232,631, about two percent of the population.[121] While Pennsylvania owes its existence to Quakers, and much of the historic character of the Commonwealth is ideologically rooted in the teachings of the Religious Society of Friends (as they are officially known), practicing Quakers are a small minority of about 10,000 adherents in 2010.[122]

    As of 2014[update], the religious affiliations of the people of Pennsylvania are:[114]

    According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 38% of Pennsylvanians are very religious, 29% are moderately religious, and 34% are non-religious.[123]

    Pennsylvania’s 2018 total gross state product (GSP) of $803 billion ranks the state 6th in the nation.[124] If Pennsylvania were an independent country, its economy would rank as the 19th-largest in the world.[125] On a per-capita basis, Pennsylvania’s 2016 per-capita GSP of $50,665 (in chained 2009 dollars) ranks 22nd among the fifty states.[124]

    As of 2016, there were 5,354,964 people in employment in Pennsylvania, with 301,484 total employer establishments.[126]

    Philadelphia in the southeast corner, Pittsburgh in the southwest corner, Erie in the northwest corner, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the northeast corner, and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton in the east central region are urban manufacturing centers. Much of the Commonwealth is rural; this dichotomy affects state politics as well as the state economy.[127] Philadelphia is home to six Fortune 500 companies,[128] with more located in suburbs like King of Prussia; it is a leader in the financial[129] and insurance industry.

    Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, including U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz.[128] In all, Pennsylvania is home to fifty Fortune 500 companies.[128]
    Hershey is home to The Hershey Company, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. Erie is also home to GE Transportation, which is the largest producer of train locomotives in the United States.

    As in the US as a whole and in most states, the largest private employer in the Commonwealth is Walmart, followed by the University of Pennsylvania.[130][131] Pennsylvania is also home to the oldest investor-owned utility company in the US, The York Water Company.

    As of May 2020, the state’s unemployment rate is 13.1%.[132]

    The first nationally chartered bank in the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1781 in Philadelphia. After a series of mergers, the Bank of North America is part of Wells Fargo, which uses national charter 1.

    Pennsylvania is also the home to the first nationally chartered bank under the 1863 National Banking Act. That year, the Pittsburgh Savings & Trust Company received a national charter and renamed itself the First National Bank of Pittsburgh as part of the National Banking Act. That bank is still in existence today as PNC Financial Services and remains based in Pittsburgh. PNC is the state’s largest bank and the sixth-largest in the United States.

    Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall in agricultural production.[136]

    It also ranks 8th in the nation in winemaking.[137]

    The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture worked with private companies to establish “PA Preferred” as a way to brand agricultural products grown or made in the state to support and promote Pennsylvania products and locally grown food.[138]

    The financial impact of agriculture in Pennsylvania[139] includes employment of more than 66,800 people employed by the food manufacturing industry; and over $1.7 billion in food product export (in 2011).

    Casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004. Currently, there are nine casinos across the state with three under construction or in planning. At that time, only horse racing, slot machines, and electronic table games were legal in Pennsylvania, although a bill to legalize table games was being negotiated in the fall of 2009.[140][141] Table games such as poker, roulette, blackjack, and craps were finally approved by the state legislature in January 2010, being signed into law by the Governor on January 7.

    Former Governor Ed Rendell had considered legalizing video poker machines in bars and private clubs in 2009 since an estimated 17,000 operate illegally across the state.[142] Under this plan, any establishment with a liquor license would be allowed up to five machines. All machines would be connected to the state’s computer system, like commercial casinos. The state would impose a 50% tax on net gambling revenues, after winning players have been paid, with the remaining 50% going to the establishment owners.

    The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit began in 2004 and stimulated the development of a film industry in the state.[143]

    Pennsylvania has had five constitutions during its statehood:[144] 1776, 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968. Before that the province of Pennsylvania was governed for a century by a Frame of Government, of which there were four versions: 1682, 1683, 1696, and 1701.[144] The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. The legislature meets in the State Capitol there.

    The current Governor is Tom Wolf. The other elected officials composing the executive branch are the Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, Attorney General Joshua Shapiro, Auditor General Timothy DeFoor, and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor run as a ticket in the general election and are up for re-election every four years during the midterm elections. The elections for Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer are held every four years coinciding with a Presidential election.[145]

    Pennsylvania has a bicameral legislature set up by Commonwealth’s constitution in 1790. The original Frame of Government of William Penn had a unicameral legislature.[146] The General Assembly includes 50 Senators and 203 Representatives. Joe Scarnati is currently President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, Jake Corman the Majority Leader, and Jay Costa the Minority Leader.[147] Bryan Cutler is Speaker of the House of Representatives, with Kerry A. Benninghoff as Majority Leader and Frank Dermody as Minority Leader.[148] As of the 2018 elections, the Republicans hold the majority in the State House and Senate.

    Pennsylvania is divided into 60 judicial districts,[149] most of which (except Philadelphia) have magisterial district judges (formerly called district justices and justices of the peace), who preside mainly over preliminary hearings in felony and misdemeanor offenses, all minor (summary) criminal offenses, and small civil claims.[149] Most criminal and civil cases originate in the Courts of Common Pleas, which also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and for local agency decisions.[149] The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or Supreme Court. It also has original jurisdiction to review warrants for wiretap surveillance.[149] The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas.[149] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the final appellate court. All judges in Pennsylvania are elected; the chief justice is determined by seniority.[149]

    The Pennsylvania State Police is the chief law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    Since the latter half of the 20th century, Pennsylvania has been a powerful swing state. It supported the losing candidate in a presidential election only twice between 1932 to 1988, faltering in 1932 and 1968 with Herbert Hoover and Hubert Humphrey, respectively. Between 1992 and 2016, Pennsylvania trended Democratic in presidential elections, voting for Bill Clinton twice by large margins, and by a slightly closer margin for Al Gore in 2000. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John F. Kerry beat President George W. Bush in Pennsylvania, 2,938,095 (51%) to 2,793,847 (48%). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Pennsylvania, 3,276,363 (54%) to 2,655,885 (44%). By the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump broke the Democratic streak of the state, winning by 2,970,733 (48%) votes to 2,926,441 (47%) votes.[150] The state returned to the Democratic column in 2020 by narrowly voting for Joe Biden over Trump, 3,458,229 (50%) to 3,377,674 (49%). The state holds 20 electoral votes.[151]

    In recent national elections since 1992, Pennsylvania had leaned for the Democratic Party. The state voted for the Democratic ticket for president in every election between 1992 and 2012. During the 2008 election campaign, a recruitment drive saw registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 1.2 million. However, Pennsylvania has a history of electing Republican senators. From 2009 to 2011, the state was represented by two Democratic senators for the first time since 1947 after Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched party affiliation. In 2010, Republicans recaptured a U.S. Senate seat as well as a majority of the state’s congressional seats, control of both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. Democrats won back the governor’s mansion four years later in the 2014 election. It was the first time since a governor became eligible to succeed themself that an incumbent governor had been defeated for reelection.

    Historically, Democratic strength was concentrated in Philadelphia in the southeast, the Pittsburgh and Johnstown areas in the southwest, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the northeast. Republican strength was concentrated in the Philadelphia suburbs, as well as the more rural areas in the central, northeastern, and western portions. The latter counties have long been among the most conservative areas in the nation. Since 1992, however, the Philadelphia suburbs have swung Democratic; the brand of Republicanism there was traditionally a moderate one. The Pittsburgh suburbs, historically a Democratic stronghold, have swung more Republican since the turn of the millennium.

    Democratic political consultant James Carville once pejoratively described Pennsylvania as “Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle”. Political analysts and editorials refer to central Pennsylvania as the “T” in statewide elections. The Three Valleys (Delaware, Lehigh, and Wyoming) and greater Pittsburgh generally vote for Democratic candidates, while the majority of the counties in the central part of the state vote Republican. As a result, maps showing the results of statewide elections invariably form a “T” shape.

    Pennsylvania had the 15th-highest state and local tax burden in the United States in 2012, according to the Tax Foundation.[153] Residents paid a total of $83.7 billion in state and local taxes with a per capita average of $4,589 annually. Residents share 76% of the total tax burden. Many state politicians have tried to increase the share of taxes paid by out-of-state sources. Suggested revenue sources include taxing natural gas drilling as Pennsylvania is the only state without such a tax on gas drilling.[154] Additional revenue prospects include trying to place tolls on interstate highways; specifically Interstate 80, which is used heavily by out of state commuters with high maintenance costs.[155]

    Sales taxes provide 39% of the Commonwealth’s revenue; personal income taxes 34%; motor vehicle taxes about 12%, and taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages 5%.[156] The personal income tax is a flat 3.07%. An individual’s taxable income is based on the following eight types of income: compensation (salary); interest; dividends; net profits from the operation of a business, profession or farm; net gains or income from the dispositions of property; net gains or income from rents, royalties, patents and copyrights; income derived through estates or trusts; and gambling and lottery winnings (other than Pennsylvania Lottery winnings).[157]

    Counties, municipalities, and school districts levy taxes on real estate. In addition, some local bodies assess a wage tax on personal income. Generally, the total wage tax rate is capped at 1% of income but some municipalities with home rule charters may charge more than 1%. Thirty-two of the Commonwealth’s sixty-seven counties levy a personal property tax on stocks, bonds, and similar holdings.

    With the exception of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, municipalities and school districts are allowed to enact a local earned income tax within the purview of Act 32. Residents of these municipalities and school districts are required to file a local income tax return in addition to federal and state returns. This local return is filed with the local income tax collector, a private collection agency appointed by a particular county to collect the local earned income and local services tax (the latter a flat fee deducted from salaried employees working within a particular municipality or school district).[158][159][160][161]

    The City of Philadelphia has its own local income taxation system. Philadelphia-based employers are required to withhold the Philadelphia wage tax from the salaries of their employees. Residents of Philadelphia working for an employer are not required to file a local return as long as their Philadelphia wage tax is fully withheld by their employer. If their employer does not withhold the Philadelphia wage tax, residents are required to register with the Revenue Department and file an Earnings Tax return. Residents of Philadelphia with self-employment income are required to file a Net Profits Tax (NPT) return, while those with business income from Philadelphia sources are required to obtain a Commercial Activity License (CAL) and pay the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) and the NPT. Residents with unearned income (except for interest from checking and savings accounts) are required to file and pay the School Income-tax (SIT).[162]

    The complexity of Pennsylvania’s local tax filing system has been criticized by experts, who note that the outsourcing of collections to private entities is akin to tax farming and that many new residents are caught off guard and end up facing “failure to file” penalties even if they did not owe any tax. Attempts to transfer local income tax collections to the state level (i.e. by having a separate local section on the state income tax return, currently the method used to collect local income taxes in New York, Maryland, Indiana, and Iowa) have been unsuccessful.[163]

    Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators are Democrat Bob Casey, Jr. and Republican Pat Toomey.

    Pennsylvania has 18 seats in the United States House of Representatives, as of the 2010 Census.[164]

    Pennsylvania has a mixed health record, and is ranked as the 29th-overall-healthiest state according to the 2013 United Health Foundation’s Health Rankings.[165]

    Pennsylvania has 500 public school districts, thousands of private schools, publicly funded colleges and universities, and over 100 private institutions of higher education.

    In general, under state law, school attendance in Pennsylvania is mandatory for a child from the age of 8 until the age of 17, or until graduation from an accredited high school, whichever is earlier.[166] As of 2005, 83.8% of Pennsylvania residents age 18 to 24 have completed high school. Among residents age 25 and over, 86.7% have graduated from high school.

    The following are the four-year graduation rates for students completing high school in 2016:[167]

    Additionally, 27.5% have gone on to obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher.[168] State students consistently do well in standardized testing. In 2007, Pennsylvania ranked 14th in mathematics, 12th in reading, and 10th in writing for 8th grade students.[169]

    In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169, which allows parents or guardians to homeschool their children as an option for compulsory school attendance. This law specifies the requirements and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family lives.[170]

    The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the public university system of the Commonwealth, with 14 state-owned schools. West Chester University has by far the largest student body of the 14 universities. The Commonwealth System of Higher Education is an organizing body of the four state-related schools in Pennsylvania; these schools (Pennsylvania State University, Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University) are independent institutions that receive some state funding. There are also 15 publicly funded two-year community colleges and technical schools that are separate from the PASSHE system. Additionally, there are many private two- and four-year technical schools, colleges, and universities.

    Carnegie Mellon University, The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh are members of the Association of American Universities, an invitation-only organization of leading research universities. Lehigh University is a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State University is the Commonwealth’s land-grant university, Sea Grant College and, Space Grant College. The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, is considered the first university in the United States and established the country’s first medical school. The University of Pennsylvania is also the Commonwealth’s only, and geographically most southern, Ivy League school. The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is a private graduate school of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy with a main campus in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a branch campus located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania (with two other campuses outside of Pennsylvania). With over 2,200 enrolled medical students, the College of Osteopathic Medicine at LECOM is the largest medical school in the United States.[171][172][173][174] The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the first and oldest art school in the United States.[175] Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, now a part of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, was the first pharmacy school in the United States.[176]

    Pennsylvania is home to the nation’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo.[177] Other long-accredited AZA zoos include the Erie Zoo and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Lehigh Valley Zoo and ZOOAMERICA are other notable zoos. The Commonwealth boasts some of the finest museums in the country, including the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and several others. One unique museum is the Houdini Museum in Scranton, the only building in the world devoted to the legendary magician.[178] Pennsylvania is also home to the National Aviary, located in Pittsburgh.

    All 121 state parks in Pennsylvania feature free admission.

    Pennsylvania offers a number of notable amusement parks, including Kalahari Resorts Poconos, Camel Beach, Conneaut Lake Park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Dutch Wonderland, DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, Hersheypark, Idlewild Park, Kennywood, Knoebels, Lakemont Park, Sandcastle Waterpark, Sesame Place, Great Wolf Lodge and Waldameer Park. Pennsylvania also is home to the largest indoor waterpark resort on the East Coast, Splash Lagoon in Erie.

    There are also notable music festivals that take place in Pennsylvania. These include Musikfest and NEARfest in Bethlehem, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Creation Festival, the Great Allentown Fair, and Purple Door.

    There are nearly one million licensed hunters in Pennsylvania. Whitetail deer, black bear, cottontail rabbits, squirrel, turkey, and grouse are common game species. Pennsylvania is considered one of the finest wild turkey hunting states in the Union, alongside Texas and Alabama. Sport hunting in Pennsylvania provides a massive boost for the Commonwealth’s economy. A report from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania (a Legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) reported that hunting, fishing, and furtaking generated a total of $9.6 billion statewide.

    The Boone and Crockett Club shows that five of the ten largest (skull size) black bear entries came from the state.[179] The state also has a tied record for the largest hunter shot black bear in the Boone & Crockett books at 733 lb (332 kg) and a skull of 23 3/16 tied with a bear shot in California in 1993.[179] The largest bear ever found dead was in Utah in 1975, and the second-largest was shot by a poacher in the state in 1987.[179] Pennsylvania holds the second-highest number of Boone & Crockett-recorded record black bears at 183, second only to Wisconsin’s 299.[179]

    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, abbreviated as PennDOT, owns 39,861 miles (64,150 km) of the 121,770 miles (195,970 km) of roadway in the state, making it the fifth-largest state highway system in the United States.[180] The Pennsylvania Turnpike system is 535 miles (861 km) long, with the mainline portion stretching from Ohio to Philadelphia and New Jersey.[180] It is overseen by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Another major east–west route is Interstate 80, which runs primarily in the northern tier of the state from Ohio to New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap. Interstate 90 travels the relatively short distance between Ohio and New York through Erie County, in the extreme northwestern part of the state.

    Primary north–south highways are Interstate 79 from its terminus in Erie through Pittsburgh to West Virginia, Interstate 81 from New York through Scranton, Lackawanna County and Harrisburg to Maryland and Interstate 476, which begins 7 miles (11 km) north of the Delaware border, in Chester, Delaware County and travels 132 miles (212 km) to Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, where it joins I-81. All but 20 miles (32 km) of I-476 is the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, while the highway south of the mainline of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is officially called the “Veterans Memorial Highway”, but is commonly referred to by locals as the “Blue Route”.

    The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the sixth-largest transit agency in the United States and operates the commuter, heavy and light rail transit, and transit bus service in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Port Authority of Allegheny County is the 25th-largest transit agency and provides transit bus and light rail service in and around Pittsburgh.[181]

    Intercity passenger rail transit is provided by Amtrak, with the majority of traffic occurring on the Keystone Service in the high-speed Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station before heading north to New York City, as well as the Northeast Regional providing frequent high-speed service up and down the Northeast Corridor. The Pennsylvanian follows the same route from New York City to Harrisburg, but extends out to Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited also passes through Pittsburgh, as well as Connellsville, on its way from Chicago to Washington, D.C.[182] Traveling between Chicago and New York City, the Lake Shore Limited passes through Erie once in each direction.[182] There are 67 short-line, freight railroads operating in Pennsylvania, the highest number in any U.S. state.[182]

    Intercity bus service is provided between cities in Pennsylvania and other major points in the Northeast by Bolt Bus, Fullington Trailways, Greyhound Lines, Martz Trailways, Megabus, OurBus, Trans-Bridge Lines, as well as various Chinatown bus companies. In 2018, OurBus began offering service from West Chester, PA – Malvern, PA – King of Prussia, PA – Fort Washington, PA – New York, NY.

    Pennsylvania has seven major airports: Philadelphia International, Pittsburgh International, Lehigh Valley International, Harrisburg International, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International, Erie International, and University Park Airport. A total of 134 public-use airports are located in the state.[182] The port of Pittsburgh is the second-largest inland port in the United States and the 18th-largest port overall; the Port of Philadelphia is the 24th-largest port in the United States.[183] Pennsylvania’s only port on the Great Lakes is located in Erie.

    The Allegheny River Lock and Dam Two is the most-used lock operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers of its 255 nationwide.[184] The dam impounds the Allegheny River near Downtown Pittsburgh.

    Pennsylvania is home to many major league professional sports teams: the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, and the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Among them, these teams have accumulated 7 World Series Championships (Pirates 5, Phillies 2), 16 National League Pennants (Pirates 9, Phillies 7), 3 pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championships (Eagles), 7 Super Bowl Championships (Steelers 6, Eagles 1), 2 NBA Championships (76ers), and 7 Stanley Cups (Penguins 5, Flyers 2).

    Pennsylvania also has minor league and semi-pro sports teams: the Triple-A baseball Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the Triple-A East; the Double-A baseball Altoona Curve, Erie SeaWolves, Harrisburg Senators, and Reading Fightin Phils of the Double-A Northeast; the collegiate summer baseball State College Spikes and Williamsport Crosscutters of the MLB Draft League; the independent baseball Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball; the independent baseball Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League; the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League; the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League; the Reading Royals and of the ECHL; and the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. Among them, these teams have accumulated 12 triple and double-A baseball league titles (RailRiders 1, Senators 6, Fightin Phils 4 Curve 1), 3 Arena Bowl Championships (Soul), and 11 Calder Cups (Bears).

    The first World Series between the Boston Americans (which became the Boston Red Sox) and Pittsburgh Pirates was played in Pittsburgh in 1903. Since 1959, the Little League World Series is held each summer in South Williamsport, near where Little League Baseball was founded in Williamsport.[185]

    Soccer is gaining popularity within the state as well. With the addition of the Philadelphia Union in the MLS, the state now boasts three teams that are eligible to compete for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup annually. The other two teams are Philadelphia Union II and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. However, Penn FC (formally Harrisburg City Islanders) used to be one of these teams before they announced they’d be on hiatus in 2019; although they would be returning for the 2020 season.[186] Both of the United Soccer League (USL). Within the American Soccer Pyramid, the MLS takes the first tier, while the USL-2 claims the third tier.

    Arnold Palmer, one of the 20th century’s most notable pro golfers, comes from Latrobe, while Jim Furyk, a current PGA member, grew up near in Lancaster. PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club, in Moosic.

    Philadelphia is home to LOVE Park, once a popular spot for skateboarding, and across from City Hall, host to ESPN’s X Games in 2001 and 2002.[187]

    In motorsports, the Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hails from Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley. Notable racetracks in Pennsylvania include the Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, the Lake Erie Speedway in North East, the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, the Motordrome Speedway (closed) in Smithton, the Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth (closed); the Lernerville Speedway in Sarver and the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which is home to two NASCAR Cup Series races and an IndyCar Series race. The state is also home to Maple Grove Raceway, near Reading, which hosts major National Hot Rod Association sanctioned drag racing events each year.

    There are also two motocross race tracks that host a round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championships in Pennsylvania. High Point Raceway is located in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, and Steel City is located in Delmont, Pennsylvania.

    Horse racing courses in Pennsylvania consist of The Meadows near Pittsburgh, Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, and Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, which offer harness racing, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) in Bensalem, and Presque Isle Downs near Erie, which offer thoroughbred racing. Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, had Philadelphia Park as his home course.

    College football is popular in Pennsylvania.[citation needed] There are three colleges in Pennsylvania that play at the highest level of collegiate football competition, the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Two play in Power Five conferences, the Penn State University Nittany Lions of the Big Ten Conference and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, while the Temple University Owls play in the American Athletic Conference. Penn State claims two national championships (1982 & 1986) as well as seven undefeated seasons (1887, 1912, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). Penn State plays its home games in the second-largest stadium in the United States, Beaver Stadium, which seats 106,572, and is currently led by head coach James Franklin. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers claims nine national championships (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1976) and has played eight undefeated seasons (1904, 1910, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1937 and 1976).[188] Pitt plays its home games at Heinz Field, a facility it shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is led by current head football coach Pat Narduzzi. Other Pennsylvania schools that have won national titles in football include Lafayette College (1896), Villanova University (FCS 2009), the University of Pennsylvania (1895, 1897, 1904 and 1908)[189] and Washington and Jefferson College (1921).

    College basketball is also popular in the state, especially in the Philadelphia area where five universities, collectively termed the Big Five, have a rich tradition in NCAA Division I basketball. National titles in college basketball have been won by La Salle University (1954), Temple University (1938), University of Pennsylvania (1920 and 1921), University of Pittsburgh (1928 and 1930), and Villanova University (1985, 2016, and 2018).[190][191]

    Author Sharon Hernes Silverman calls Pennsylvania the snack food capital of the world.[192] It leads all other states in the manufacture of pretzels and potato chips. The Sturgis Pretzel House introduced the pretzel to America, and companies like Anderson Bakery Company, Intercourse Pretzel Factory, and Snyder’s of Hanover are leading manufacturers in the Commonwealth. Two of the three companies that define the U.S. potato chip industry are based in Pennsylvania: Utz Quality Foods, which started making chips in Hanover, Pennsylvania, in 1921 and Wise Foods, which started making chips in Berwick also in 1921. The third, Frito-Lay is part of PepsiCo, and is based in Plano, Texas. Other companies such as Herr’s Snacks, Martin’s Potato Chips, Snyder’s of Berlin (not associated with Snyder’s of Hanover) and Troyer Farms Potato Products are popular chip manufacturers.

    The U.S. chocolate industry is centered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with Mars, Godiva, and Wilbur Chocolate Company nearby, and smaller manufacturers such as Asher’s[193] in Souderton,[194] and Gertrude Hawk Chocolates of Dunmore. Other notable companies include Just Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, makers of Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, the Easter favorite marshmallow Peeps, and Boyer Brothers of Altoona, Pennsylvania, which is well known for its Mallo Cups. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels began as a market-stand in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and now has corporate headquarters in Lancaster City.[195] Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch foods include chicken potpie, ham potpie, schnitz un knepp (dried apples, ham, and dumplings), fasnachts (raised doughnuts), scrapple, pretzels, bologna, chow-chow, and Shoofly pie. Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc., headquartered in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, specializes in potato bread, another traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food. D.G. Yuengling & Son, America’s oldest brewery, has been brewing beer in Pottsville since 1829.

    Among the regional foods associated with Philadelphia are cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels, Italian water ice, Irish potato candy, scrapple, Tastykake, and strombolis. In Pittsburgh, tomato ketchup was improved by Henry John Heinz from 1876 to the early 20th century. Famous to a lesser extent than Heinz ketchup is the Pittsburgh’s Primanti Brothers Restaurant sandwiches, pierogies, and city chicken. Outside of Scranton, in Old Forge there are dozens of Italian restaurants specializing in pizza made unique by thick, light crust and American cheese. Erie also has its share of unique foods, including Greek sauce and sponge candy. Sauerkraut along with pork and mashed potatoes is a common meal on New Year’s Day in Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania has been known as the Keystone State since 1802,[196] based in part upon its central location among the original Thirteen Colonies forming the United States, and also in part because of the number of important American documents signed in the state (such as the Declaration of Independence). It was also a keystone state economically, having both the industry common to the North (making such wares as Conestoga wagons and rifles)[197][198] and the agriculture common to the South (producing feed, fiber, food, and tobacco).[199]

    Another one of Pennsylvania’s nicknames is the Quaker State; in colonial times, it was known officially as the Quaker Province,[200] in recognition of Quaker[201] William Penn’s First Frame of Government[202] constitution for Pennsylvania that guaranteed liberty of conscience. He knew of the hostility[203] Quakers faced when they opposed religious ritual, taking oaths, violence, war and military service, and what they viewed as ostentatious frippery.[204]

    “The Coal State”, “The Oil State”, “The Chocolate State”, and “The Steel State” were adopted when those were the state’s greatest industries.[205]

    “The State of Independence” currently appears on many road signs entering the state.

    Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}40°52′41″N 77°47′59″W / 40.8781°N 77.7996°W / 40.8781; -77.7996 (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)


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    Connecticut • Delaware • Georgia • Maryland • Massachusetts • New
    Hampshire • New Jersey • New
    York • North Carolina • Pennsylvania • South
    Carolina • Rhode Island • Virginia

    All of the colonies were represented in Philadelphia
    to consider the delicate case for independence and to change the
    course of the war.  In all, there were fifty-six representatives
    from the thirteen colonies.  Fourteen represented the New
    England Colonies, twenty-one represented the Middle Colonies and
    twenty-one represented the Southern Colonies.  The largest
    number (9) came from Pennsylvania.  Most of the signers were
    American born although eight were foreign born.  The ages
    of the signers ranged from 26 (Edward Rutledge) to 70 (Benjamin
    Franklin), but the majority of the signers were in their thirties
    or forties.  More than half of the signers were lawyers and
    the others were planters, merchants and shippers.  Together
    they mutually pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes
    and our sacred Honor.”  They were mostly men of means
    who had much to lose if the war was lost.  None of the signers
    died at the hands of the British, and one-third served as militia
    officers during the war. Four of the signers were taken captive
    during the war and nearly all of them were poorer at the end of
    the war than at the beginning.  No matter what each of these
    men did after July 1776, the actual signing of the Declaration
    of Independence which began on August 2 ensured them instant immortality.  The
    following gives a bit of information about each signer AFTER the
    signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    Samuel Huntington
    (1731-1796)—Samuel Huntington was a self-made
    man who distinguished himself in government on the state and
    national levels. He was the President of Congress from 1779-1781
    and presided over the adoption of the Articles of Confederation
    in 1781.  He returned to Connecticut and was the Chief
    Justice of the Superior Court in 1784, Lieutenant Governor
    in 1785 and Governor from 1786-1796.  He was one of the
    first seven presidential electors from Connecticut.

    Roger Sherman (1723-1793)—Roger
    Sherman was a member of the Committee of Five that was chosen to
    write the Declaration of Independence.  He and Robert Morris
    were the only individuals to sign the Declaration of Independence,
    the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.   He
    was the Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut from 1766-1789,
    a member of the Continental Congress from 1774-81; 1783-84 and
    a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  Sherman
    proposed the famed “Connecticut Compromise” at the
    convention and represented Connecticut in the United States Senate
    from 1791-93.

    William Williams
    (1731-1811)—William Williams was a graduate
    of Harvard, studied theology with his father and eventually
    became a successful merchant.  He fought in the French-Indian
    War and returned to Lebanon, Connecticut where he served for
    forty-four years as the town clerk.  He was elected to
    the Continental Congress from 1776-1777, and after signing
    the Declaration of Independence, Williams was a member of the
    committee that was instrumental in framing the Articles of
    Confederation.  He was a delegate to vote on the ratification
    of the Federal Constitution and also served as a Judge of the
    Windham County Courthouse.who signed the constitution and declaration

    Oliver Wolcott (1726-1797)—Oliver
    Wolcott was as much a soldier as he was a politician and served
    as a brigadier general in the New York campaigns from 1776-1777.  As
    a major general, he was involved in defending the Connecticut coast
    from attacks by the Royal Governor of New York.  He was Commissioner
    of Indian Affairs in 1775 and from 1784-89, a delegate to the Continental
    Congress from 1775-76 and 1778-84, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
    from 1786-96 and Governor from 1796-97.

    Thomas McKean (1734-1817)—Thomas
    McKean was the last member of the Second Continental Congress to
    sign the Declaration of Independence.  He was a delegate to
    the Continental Congress from 1774-81 and served as a delegate
    to the Congress of the Confederation from 1781-1783.  After
    1783, McKean became involved in the politics of Pennsylvania becoming  Chief
    Justice of Pennsylvania and the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1799-1812.  He
    retired from politics in 1812 and died at the age of 83 in 1817.

    George Read (1733-1798)—George
    Read was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who
    voted against the proposal for independence introduced by Richard
    Henry Lee of Virginia.  He was elected to the Continental
    Congress from 1774-1776, was a member of the Delaware Constitutional
    Convention in 1776, acting Governor of Delaware in 1777, a Judge
    on the Court of Appeals in 1780, State Senator from 1791-92, a
    United States Senator from 1789-1793 and Chief Justice of the State
    of Delaware from 1793-98.

    Caesar Rodney (1728-
    1784)—Caesar Rodney took a strong stand
    in favor of independence and because of that, was not reelected
    to Congress because of the conservatives in the state of Delaware.  They
    also blocked his election to the state legislature and his
    appointment to the state’s constitutional convention.  He
    was interested in military affairs and was involved in action
    in Delaware and New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.  He
    was reelected to Congress in 1777 and was nominated as state
    president from 1778-1781.  He died in 1784 while serving
    as Speaker of the Upper House of the Delaware Assembly.

    Button Gwinnett (1735-1777)—After
    the Governor died in 1777, Button Gwinnett served as the Acting
    Governor of Georgia for two months, but did not achieve reelection.  His
    life was one of economic and political disappointment.  Button
    Gwinnett was the second signer of the Declaration to die as the
    result of a duel outside Savannah, Georgia.

    Lyman Hall (1724-1790)—Lyman
    Hall was one of four signers trained as a minister and was a graduate
    of Princeton College.  During his life he also served as a
    doctor, governor and planter.  During the Revolutionary War,
    his property was destroyed and he was accused of treason.  He
    left Georgia and spent time in South Carolina and Connecticut to
    escape prosecution.  When the war was over, he went back to
    Georgia and began to practice medicine.  He served as Governor
    of Georgia from 1783-1784.

  • ep-37 what type of boating emergency causes t
  • George Walton (1741-1804)—George
    Walton was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, 1777, 1780
    and 1781, Colonel of the First Georgia Militia, in 1778, Governor
    of Georgia from 1779-1780, Chief Justice of the State Superior
    Court of Georgia from 1783-89, a presidential elector in 1789,
    Governor of Georgia from 1789-1790 and a United States Senator
    from 1795-1796.  During the Revolutionary War, Walton was
    captured by the British in 1778 during the attack on Savannah and
    released within the year.  He was the founder of the Richmond
    Academy and Franklin College which later became the University
    of Georgia.

    Charles Carroll (1737-1832)—Charles
    Carroll was one of the wealthiest men in America and was the oldest
    and longest surviving signer of the Declaration.  From 1789-1792
    he served as one of Maryland’s two United States Senators.  He
    retired from politics in 1804 and spent the rest of his life managing
    his 80,000 acres of land in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

    Samuel Chase (1741-1811)—Samuel
    Chase was called the “Demosthenes of Maryland” for
    his oratorical skills.  In 1785 he represented Maryland at
    the Mt. Vernon conference to settle a dispute between Maryland
    and Virginia concerning navigation rights on the Potomac River.  He
    served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
    from 1796-1811.  He was the only Supreme Court justice to
    be impeached in 1805.  He was charged with discriminating
    against supporters of Thomas Jefferson, and he was found to be
    not guilty.

    William Paca (1740-1799)—William
    Paca was elected to the Continental Congress from 1774-78, appointed
    Chief Justice of Maryland in 1778, Governor of Maryland from 1782-1785
    and Federal District Judge for the State of Maryland from 1789-99.  He
    was also a planter and a lawyer, but was a relatively minor figure
    in national affairs.  William Paca also served as a delegate
    to the Maryland ratification convention for the Federal Constitution.

    Thomas Stone (1743-1787)—Thomas
    Stone was one of the most conservative of the signers along with
    Carter Braxton of Virginia, George Read of Delaware and Edward
    Rutledge of South Carolina.  He was elected to the Congress
    from 1775-78 and again in 1783. He was chosen to be a delegate
    to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 but had
    to decline because of the poor health of his wife.  Shortly
    after she died in 1787, a grief stricken Stone died a few months
    later before making a trip to England.

    John Adams (1735-1826)—John
    Adams was the first Vice-President of the United States and the
    second President.  He was a member (along with Thomas Jefferson,
    Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman) chosen
    to draft the Declaration of Independence.  He was the first
    President to attend Harvard University and the first to have a
    son become president.

    Samuel Adams (1722-1803)—Samuel
    Adams was known as the “Firebrand of the Revolution” for
    his role as an agitator between the colonists and the British prior
    to the outbreak of hostilities on April 1775.  He served in
    the Continental Congress until 1781 and was a member of the Massachusetts
    State Senate from 1781-1788.  Because he was opposed to a
    stronger national government, Adams refused to attend the Constitutional
    Convention in 1787.  He served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
    from 1789-1793 and Governor from 1794-1797.

    Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)—Elbridge
    Gerry served for a time as a member of the state legislature of
    Massachusetts. Although he attended the meetings in Philadelphia
    to write a new Constitution, at the end he was opposed to it because
    it lacked a bill of rights.   However, after a “change
    of heart,” he was a member of the House of Representatives
    for the first two Congresses from 1789-1793.  He was Governor
    of Massachusetts in 1810 and 1811 and died in office as Vice-President
    under James Madison in 1814.

    John Hancock (1737-1793)—John
    Hancock was the President of the Second Continental Congress when
    the Declaration of Independence was adopted.  He, along with
    Samuel Adams, were the two most wanted men in the colonies by King
    George III.  He served as a major general during the Revolutionary
    War.  He was elected Governor of Massachusetts from 1780-1785
    and 1787 until his death in 1793.  He was the seventh President
    of the United States in Congress assembled, from November 23, 1785
    to June 6, 1786.  John Hancock was one of the original “fathers” of
    U.S. independence.

    Robert Treat Paine
    (1731-1814)—Robert Treat Paine was elected
    to the Continental Congress, in 1774 and 1776, Attorney General
    for Massachusetts from 1777-1796, Judge, Supreme Court of Massachusetts
    from 1796-1804 and State Counselor in 1804.  During his
    time in Congress, Paine concentrated primarily on military
    and Indian concerns.  Because of his opposition to many
    proposals, he was known as the “Objection Maker.”  Paine
    was one of the original founders of the American Academy of
    Arts and Sciences.

    Josiah Bartlett (1729-1795)—Josiah
    Bartlett served in Congress until 1779 and then refused reelection
    because of fatigue.  On the state level he served as the first
    Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (1779-1782), Associate (1782-1788)
    and Chief justice of the Superior Court (1788-1790).  Bartlett
    founded the New Hampshire Medical Society in 1791 and was the Governor
    of New Hampshire (1793-1794).

    Matthew Thornton
    (1714-1803)—Matthew Thornton served as
    Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, was
    an Associate Justice of the Superior Court and was elected
    to the Continental Congress in 1776.  He was one of six
    members who signed the Declaration of Independence after it
    was adopted by the Continental Congress.  He left Congress
    to return to New Hampshire to become an Associate Justice of
    the State Superior Court.  He spent his remaining years
    farming and operating a ferry on the Merrimack River.

    William Whipple (1730-1785)—William
    Whipple was a former sea captain who commanded troops during the
    Revolutionary War and was a member of the Continental Congress
    from 1776-1779.  General Whipple was involved in the successful
    defeat of General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.  He
    was a state legislator in New Hampshire from 1780-1784, Associate
    Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court from 1782-1785, and
    a receiver for finances for the Congress of the Confederation.  He
    suffered from heart problems and died while traveling his court
    circuit in 1785.

    Abraham Clark (1726-1794)—Abraham
    Clark was a farmer, surveyor and politician who spent most of his
    life in public service.  He was a member of the New Jersey
    state legislature, represented his state at the Annapolis Convention
    in 1786, and was opposed to the Constitution until it incorporated
    a bill of rights.  He served in the United States Congress
    for two terms from 1791 until his death in 1794.

    John Hart (1711-1779)—John
    Hart became the Speaker of the Lower House of the New Jersey state
    legislature.  His property was destroyed by the British during
    the course of the Revolutionary War, and his wife died three months
    after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  During
    the ravaging of his home, Hart spent time in the Sourland Mountains
    in exile.

    Francis Hopkinson
    (1737-1791)—Francis Hopkinson was a judge
    and lawyer by profession but also was a musician, poet and
    artist.  When the Revolutionary War was over, he became
    one of the most respected writers in the country.  He
    was later appointed Judge to the U.S. Court for the District
    of Pennsylvania in 1790.

    Richard Stockton
    (1730-1781)—Richard Stockton was trained
    to be a lawyer and graduated from the College of New Jersey.  He
    was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776 and was the
    first of the New Jersey delegation to sign the Declaration
    of Independence.  In November 1776 he was captured by
    the British and was eventually released in 1777 in very poor
    physical condition.  His home at Morven was destroyed
    by the British during the war and he died in 1781 at the age
    of 50.

    John Witherspoon
    (1723-1794)—John Witherspoon was the
    only active clergyman among the signers of the Declaration
    of Independence.  He was elected to the Continental Congress
    from 1776-1782, elected to the state legislature in New Jersey
    from 1783-1789 and was the president of the College of New
    Jersey from 1768-1792.  In his later years he spent a
    great deal of time trying to rebuild the College of New Jersey
    (Princeton).

    William Floyd (1734-1821)—William
    Floyd had his estate in New York destroyed by the British and Loyalists
    during the Revolutionary War.  He was a member of the United
    States Congress from 1789-1791 and was a presidential elector from
    New York four times.  He was later a major general in the
    New York militia and served as a state senator.

    Francis Lewis (1713-1802)—Francis
    Lewis was one who truly felt the tragedy of the Revolutionary War.  His
    wife died as an indirect result of being imprisoned by the British,
    and he lost all of his property on Long Island, New York during
    the war.  When his wife died, Lewis left Congress and completely
    abandoned politics.

    Philip Livingston
    (1716-1778)—Philip Livingston was not
    in Philadelphia to vote on the resolution for Independence,
    but did sign the actual Declaration of Independence on August
    2, 1776.  During the Revolutionary War, the British used
    Livingston’s houses in New York as a navy hospital and
    a barracks for the troops.  He was the third signer to
    die after John Morton of Pennsylvania and Button Gwinnett of
    Georgia.

    Lewis Morris (1726-1798)—Lewis
    Morris was a delegate to the Continental Congress, from 1775-77,
    a county judge in Worchester, New York from 1777-1778, served in
    the New York state legislature from 1777-1781 and 1784-1788 and
    was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State
    of New York.  During the Revolutionary War, Morris was a brigadier-general
    in the New York state militia, and all three of his sons served
    under General George Washington.

    Joseph Hewes (1730-
    1779)—Joseph Hewes was a merchant who was
    one of the most conservative signers of the Declaration of
    Independence.  He was a graduate of Princeton College,
    and he along with John Adams helped to establish the Continental
    Navy.  He was a member of the state legislature from 1778-1779
    and was eventually reelected to the Continental Congress. He
    died a month after his reelection.

    William Hooper (1742-1790)—William
    Hooper was a graduate of Harvard College and was highly successful
    in law and politics.  Because of his family situation and
    financial difficulties, he resigned from Congress to return to
    North Carolina.  During the war he was separated from his
    family for ten months and his property was destroyed.  After
    the war, he was elected to the state legislature and served there
    through 1786.

    John Penn (1740-1788)—John
    Penn was one of sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence
    who also signed the Articles of Confederation.  He was a member
    of the Continental Congress from 1775-77; 1779-80 and a member
    of the Board of War in 1780 which shared responsibility for military
    affairs with the governor. In 1784 he became a state tax receiver
    under the Articles of Confederation.  After retiring from
    politics, he practiced law until his death in 1788.

    George Clymer (1739-1813)—George
    Clymer had a great deal of financial talent and signed both the
    Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  His home
    was vandalized by the British in 1777 during the American Revolutionary
    War.  He served in the Pennsylvania state legislature from
    1784-1788 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives
    from 1789-1791.  He was later appointed as “collector
    of taxes” on alcoholic beverages (especially whiskey) in
    Pennsylvania from 1791-1794.

    Benjamin Franklin
    (1706-1790)—After the signing of the
    Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin helped to negotiate
    the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778 and the Treaty of
    Paris which ended the Revolutionary War in 1783.  He
    was one of the framers of the Constitution and was known as
    the “Sage of the Convention.”  He was also
    elected President of the Pennsylvania Society for the Promoting
    of the Abolition of Slavery.

    Robert Morris (1734-1806)—Robert
    Morris has been considered the  “Financier of the Revolution,” and
    contributed his own money to help such causes as the support of
    troops at Valley Forge and the battles of Trenton and Princeton.  In
    1781 he suggested a plan that became the Bank of North America
    and was the Superintendent of Finance under the Articles of Confederation.  Morris
    was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and was later
    offered the position of Secretary of the Treasury under the administration
    of George Washington.  He declined the position and suggested
    Alexander Hamilton who became our first Secretary of the Treasury.
    He served as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1789-1795.

    John Morton (1725-1777)—John
    Morton was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence
    to die and was one of nine signers from Pennsylvania.   He
    was elected to the Second Continental Congress from 1774-77, and
    was the chairman of the committee that reported the Articles of
    Confederation.  He contracted an inflammatory fever and died
    in Ridley Park, Delaware County, Pa., in April 1777, and is buried
    in St. Paul’s Burial Ground in Chester, Pennsylvania.who signed the constitution and declaration

    George Ross (1730-1779)—George
    Ross was elected to the Second Continental Congress from 1776-1777,
    was a colonel in the Continental Army in 1776; was Vice President
    of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1776 and Judge
    of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania in 1779.  He was not a
    member of Congress when it voted for independence on July 2, 1776.  Because
    of illness, he was forced to resign his seat in Congress in 1777.

    Benjamin Rush (1745-1813)—Benjamin
    Rush was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, appointed
    Surgeon General in the Middle Department of the Continental Army
    in 1777, instructor and physician at the University of Pennsylvania
    in 1778, Treasurer of the U.S. Mint from 1779-1813, and professor
    of Medical Theory and Clinical Practice at the University of Pennsylvania
    from 1791-1813.  During the Revolutionary War, Rush was part
    of an unsuccessful plot to relieve General George Washington of
    his military command.  He was the most well-known doctor and
    medical instructor in the United States.  He was a trustee
    of Dickinson College, helped to found the Pennsylvania Society
    for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and was a member of the
    American Philosophical Society.

    James Smith (1719-1806)—James
    Smith was elected to the Continental Congress on July 20, 1776
    after the votes had been taken on the resolution for independence
    and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  From
    1779-1782 he held a number of state offices including one term
    in the state legislature and a few months as a Judge of the state
    High Court of Appeals. He was also appointed a brigadier general
    in the Pennsylvania militia in 1782.

    George Taylor (1716-1781)—George
    Taylor came to the colonies as an indentured servant and eventually
    was an Ironmaster at the Warwick Furnace and Coventry Forge.  He
    was a member of the Continental Congress from 1775-1777.  He
    returned to Pennsylvania and was elected to the new Supreme Executive
    Assembly, but served for a very short period of time because of
    illness and financial difficulties.   His Durham Furnace
    manufactured ammunition for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary
    War.

    James Wilson (1742-1798)—James
    Wilson was elected to the Congress from 1775-77 and 1785-87, chosen
    to be one of the directors of the Bank of North America in 1781,
    a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and appointed
    by President George Washington to be an Associate Justice to the
    US. Supreme Court from 1789-1798.  He experienced personal
    and financial difficulty in his later years and spent time in debtor’s
    prison while serving on the Supreme Court.

    Thomas Heyward, Jr.
    (1746-1809)—Thomas Heyward was a planter
    and lawyer and was one of three signers from South Carolina
    captured and imprisoned by the British.  He signed the
    Articles of Confederation while a member of the Continental
    Congress.  He returned to South Carolina and became a
    judge and a member of the state legislature.  The British
    destroyed Heyward’s home at White Hall during the war
    and he was held prisoner until 1781.  After the war, he
    served two terms in the state legislature from 1782-1784.  Thomas
    Heyward became the first President of the Agricultural Society
    of South Carolina.

    Thomas Lynch, Jr.
    (1749-1779)—Thomas Lynch, Jr. was an
    aristocratic planter who was the youngest signer of the Declaration
    of Independence to die at the age of thirty.  He was trained
    as a lawyer and graduated from Cambridge University in England,
    and was elected to the Second Continental Congress to carry
    on the duties of his ill father.  Thomas Lynch Sr. and
    Thomas Lynch Jr. were the only father and son team to serve
    concurrently in the Continental Congress.  Thomas Lynch,
    Jr. and his wife were enroute to France in 1779 when their
    ship was lost at sea.

    Arthur Middleton
    (1742-1787)—Arthur Middleton was chosen
    to replace his more conservative father in the Continental
    Congress in 1776, but failed to attend most of the sessions.  He
    was captured by the British and was held captive for over a
    year in St. Augustine, Florida.  During the time of his
    incarceration, the British destroyed most of his property.  After
    his release in 1781, Middleton returned to politics and served
    in the Virginia state legislature and was a trustee of the
    College of Charleston.

    Edward Rutledge (1749-1800)—Edward
    Rutledge was elected to the Continental Congress from 1774-76 and
    1779, a captain in the Charleston Battalion of Artillery from 1776-1779,
    a state legislator from 1782-1798, College of Electors in the presidential
    elections of 1788, 1792, 1796 and elected Governor for South Carolina
    in 1798.  He was the youngest of the signers of the Declaration
    of Independence.  During the Revolutionary War, Rutledge was
    a military captain involved in the campaigns at Port Royal Island
    and Charleston, South Carolina.  He was captured by the British
    in 1780 and held as a prisoner until 1781.  From 1782-1798
    Rutledge was a member of the state legislature and was elected
    Governor in 1798.

    William Ellery (1727-1820)—William
    Ellery served with distinction in the Congress of the Confederation
    until 1786 when he accepted the post of Commissioner of the Continental
    Loan Office of Rhode Island.  He served in that position until
    1790 when he was appointed Customs Collector in Newport.   Although
    the British destroyed his home during the American Revolution,
    Ellery was later able to rebuild his fortune.

    Stephen Hopkins (1707-1785)—Stephen
    Hopkins was the second oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence
    (next to Benjamin Franklin).  He served on the committee that
    was responsible for the creation of the Articles of Confederation.  He
    was forced to resign from the Congress in 1776 because of health
    problems, but was elected to the state legislature of Rhode Island
    upon his return.

    Carter Braxton (1736-1797)—Carter
    Braxton was elected to the Virginia state legislature after the
    signing of the Declaration of Independence and also served on the
    Governor’s Executive Council.  The American Revolutionary
    War caused him great hardship and he died in financial ruin in
    Richmond, Virginia.

    Benjamin Harrison
    (1726-1791)—Benjamin Harrison was nicknamed
    the “Falstaff of Congress” and was the father of
    President William Henry Harrison and great-grandfather of President
    Benjamin Harrison.  He was the Speaker of the Lower House
    of the Virginia state legislature from 1777-1781 and served
    three terms as Governor of Virginia from 1781-1783.  He
    was originally in opposition of the new Federal Constitution,
    but later favored it when it was decided to add a bill of rights.

    Thomas Jefferson
    (1743-1826)—Thomas Jefferson was the
    chief author of the Declaration of Independence.  He was
    a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776-79, elected
    Governor of Virginia in 1779 and 1780, the Associate Envoy
    to France in 1784, Minister to the French Court in 1785, United
    States Secretary of State from 1789-1793, Vice President of
    the United States from 1791-1801, President of the United States
    from 1801-1809 and established the University of Virginia in
    1810.  He was one of the most brilliant men of his time.

    Francis Lightfoot
    Lee (1734-1797)—Francis Lightfoot Lee
    was the younger brother of Richard Henry Lee.  He signed
    both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation
    as well as serving on both the military and marine committees
    during his time in Congress.  He left Congress in 1779
    and served a few years in the Virginia state legislature.

    Richard Henry Lee
    (1732-1794)—Richard Henry Lee introduced
    the resolution for independence to the Second Continental Congress
    in June 1776. He was a Virginia state legislator from 1780-1784
    and served in the national Congress again from 1784-1789.  He
    was initially opposed to the Constitution because it lacked
    a bill of rights, but he was elected Senator from Virginia
    from 1789-1792.  However, Lee was forced to resign in
    1792 due to poor health.

    Thomas Nelson, Jr.
    (1738-1789)—Thomas Nelson, Jr. had his
    Congressional career shortened because of health problems.  He
    served as the commanding General of the Lower Virginia Militia
    during the Revolutionary War.  He was a delegate to the
    Continental Congress from 1775-77; 1779 and was elected Governor
    of Virginia in 1781 after Thomas Jefferson declined reelection.  He
    spent his remaining years handling his business affairs.

    George Wythe (1726-1806)—George
    Wythe was more well-known as being a classical scholar who taught
    such great men as Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Marshall
    and Henry Clay.  He was elected to the Continental Congress
    from 1775-76, Speaker of the Virginia House from 1777-78 and judge
    of the Chancery Court of Virginia from 1789-1806.  He was
    also appointed the first chair of law at the College of William
    and Mary.  Wythe died mysteriously in 1806 by being poisoned.

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    September 4, 2017

    When the engrossed parchment copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were installed at the National Archives on December 15, 1952, President Harry S. Truman connected the two documents as follows:

    “Everyone who holds office in the Federal Government or in the government of one of our States takes an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. I have taken such an oath many times, including two times when I took the special oath required of the President of the United States. This oath we take has a deep significance. Its simple words compress a lot of our history and a lot of our philosophy of government into one small space. In many countries men swear to be loyal to their king, or to their nation. Here we promise to uphold and defend a great document. This is because the document sets forth our idea of government. And beyond this, with the Declaration of Independence, it expresses our idea of man. We believe that man should be free. And these documents establish a system under which man can be free and set up a framework to protect and expand that freedom.”

    For the majority of the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have been invoked in this way. But what about the physical connections between the Declaration and the Constitution? September 17, 2017 marks the 230th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, an event both similar to and quite different from the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In this month’s research highlight, we examine the preparation and signing of these two foundational documents, and the individuals involved in both.
    who signed the constitution and declaration


    Howard Chandler Christy, “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution,” 1940

    The Journals of the Continental Congress record the following for June 7, 1776: “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.” On June 11th, Congress appointed the Committee of Five — Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston — to prepare the Declaration. The next day, June 12th, Congress appointed a committee “to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies,” with representatives from each colony (except New Jersey): Josiah Bartlett (NH), Samuel Adams (MA), Stephen Hopkins (RI), Roger Sherman (CT), Robert R. Livingston (NY), John Dickinson (PA), Thomas McKean (DE), Thomas Stone (MD), Thomas Nelson (VA), Joseph Hewes (NC), Edward Rutledge (SC), and Button Gwinnett (GA). The Articles of Confederation were approved for ratification on November 15, 1777.

    On July 19, 1776 and September 15, 1787, respectively, the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were both ordered to be fairly engrossed on parchment. Only one sheet of parchment measuring 29.75 x 24.5 inches was needed for the Declaration; four sheets of parchment, roughly the same size, make up the Constitution, and the signatures are on the fourth sheet. The Declaration was most likely engrossed by Timothy Matlack; the Constitution was engrossed by Jacob Shallus.


    Visitors to the National Constitution Center are often surprised by the absence of likenesses of Jefferson and/or Adams in Signers’ Hall. In 1787, both Jefferson and Adams were diplomats serving abroad; Jefferson as Minister to France, and Adams as Minister to the Netherlands and Minister to the Court of St. James’s (Great Britain). However, both men corresponded with their friends and colleagues who were in Philadelphia, and stayed up to date on the Convention’s progress. Benjamin Franklin and Elbridge Gerry sent copies of the new Constitution to Jefferson and Adams respectively, and Jefferson and Adams wrote letters to each other, commenting on what they liked and disliked about the Constitution. Their opinions differed, and in December 1787, Adams wrote to Jefferson, “You are afraid of the one—I, of the few. … You are apprehensive of monarchy: I of Aristocracy.” Jefferson also sent his opinions on the Constitution, and specifically the lack of a Bill of Rights, to James Madison.

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  • In a December 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, John Adams remarked, “the deliberate union of so great and various a people in such a plan, is, without all partiality or prejudice, if not the greatest exertion of human understanding, the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen. That it may be improved is not to be doubted, and provision is made for the purpose in the Report itself. A people who could conceive, and can adopt it, we need not fear will be able to amend it, when, by experience, its inconveniences and imperfections shall be seen and felt.”

    September 17th, Constitution Day, marks the day when the Constitution was signed. John Dickinson was ill and unable to attend the Convention on the day of the signing, so his colleague George Read signed his name for him. This single day of signing further evidenced by the first newspaper printings of the Constitution on September 19th, which included a list of all the signers. By contrast, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the majority of the delegates on August 2nd, but signing continued through the fall of 1776 and perhaps as late as 1781, as delegates returned to or arrived at Congress. Both documents were signed in the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall).

    John Dickinson’s name on the Articles of Confederation (L) and United States Constitution (R)

    Roger Sherman, George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, James Wilson, and George Read signed both the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Pennsylvania had the largest representation in both documents: nine delegates signed the Declaration, 8 signed the Constitution, and 4 signed both. At 70 years old, Benjamin Franklin was the oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence; 11 years later, at 81, he was the oldest signer of the Constitution. George Wythe signed the Declaration of Independence and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but resigned in June 1787 because his wife was ill. Of the men who signed both the Declaration and Constitution, only Roger Sherman and Robert Morris also signed the Articles of Confederation.


    For more on signers who signed other documents, click here!

    The signatures on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are arranged in a similar manner, with the President (John Hancock/George Washington) at the top, and the rest of the signatures in state order from north to south, from right to left.

    James Wilson was a member of the Committee of Detail, which drafted the Constitution. Two drafts in Wilson’s hand are at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Roger Sherman proposed the Connecticut Compromise, which defined representation in the legislature. Elbridge Gerry signed the Declaration, but he, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph refused to sign the Constitution due to the lack of a Bill of Rights (or, as Gerry told John Adams, “the objections you will easily conceive without their being enumerated”).

    A note on John Dickinson: he represented Pennsylvania when he refused to vote for or sign the Declaration of Independence. He later represented Delaware when he signed both the Articles of Confederation (which he helped to draft) and the Constitution (which, as mentioned above, he didn’t actually sign).

    Farrand’s Records of the Constitutional Convention note that on June 19, 1787, “Mr. [James] Wilson, could not admit the doctrine that when the Colonies became independent of G. Britain, they became independent also of each other. He read the declaration of Independence, observing thereon that the United Colonies were declared to be free & independent States; and inferring that they were independent, not Individually but Unitedly and that they were confederated as they were independent, States.” For more on Wilson’s ties to both the Declaration and the Constitution, see our ongoing research on the Sussex Declaration.

    In Federalist 40, James Madison wrote, “Let us view the ground on which the convention stood. It may be collected from the proceedings, that they were deeply and unanimously impressed with the crisis, which had led their country, almost with one voice, to make so singular and solemn an experiment, for correcting the errors of a system, by which the crisis had been produced; that they were no less deeply and unanimously convinced, that such a reform as they have proposed, was absolutely necessary to effect the purposes of their appointment. … They must have reflected, that in all great changes of established governments, forms ought to give way to substance; that a rigid adherence in such cases to the former, would render nominal and nugatory the transcendent and precious right of the people to “abolish or alter their governments as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness;”—since it is impossible for the people spontaneously and universally, to move in concert towards their object; and it is therefore essential, that such changes be instituted by some informal and unauthorized propositions, made by some patriotic and respectable citizen, or number of citizens. They must have recollected, that it was by this irregular and assumed privilege, of proposing to the people plans for their safety and happiness, that the states were first united against the danger with which they were threatened by their ancient government; that committees and congresses were formed for concentrating their efforts, and defending their rights; and that conventions were elected in the several states, for establishing the constitutions under which they are now governed.”

    On December 4, 1787, during the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, James Wilson again read from the Declaration of Independence: “I view the states as made for the people, as well as by them, and not the people as made for the states; the people, therefore, have a right, whilst enjoying the undeniable powers of society, to form either a general government, or state governments, in what manner they please, or to accommodate them to one another, and by this means preserve them all. This, I say, is the inherent and unalienable right of the people; and as an illustration of it, I beg to read a few words from the Declaration of Independence, made by the representatives of the United States, and recognized by the whole Union. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’ This is the broad basis on which our independence was placed: on the same certain and solid foundation this system is erected. State sovereignty, as it is called, is far from being able to support its weight. Nothing less than the authority of the people could either support it or give it efficacy.”

    On January 18, 1788, during the ratifying convention in South Carolina, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney echoed Wilson: “The gentleman [Mr. Lowndes] had mentioned the treaty of peace in a manner as if our independence had been granted us by the king of Great Britain. But that was not the case; we were independent before the treaty, which does not in fact grant, but acknowledges, our independence. We ought to date that invaluable blessing from a much older charter than the treaty of peace from a charter which our babes should be taught to lisp in their cradles; which our youth should learn as a carmen necessarium, or indispensable lesson; which our young men should regard as their compact of freedom; and which our old should repeat with ejaculations of gratitude for the bounties it is about to bestow on their posterity: I mean the Declaration of Independence, made in Congress the 4th of July, 1776. This admirable manifesto, which, for importance of matter and elegance of composition, stands unrivalled, sufficiently confutes the honorable gentleman’s doctrine of the individual sovereignty and independence of the several states. In that Declaration the several states are not even enumerated; but after reciting, in nervous language, and with convincing arguments, our right to independence, and the tyranny which compelled us to assert it, the declaration is made in the following words: ‘We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.’ The separate independence and individual sovereignty of the several states were never thought of by the enlightened band of patriots who framed this Declaration; the several states are not even mentioned by name in any part of it, as if it was intended to impress this maxim on America, that our freedom and independence arose from our union, and that without it we could neither be free nor independent. Let us, then, consider all attempts to weaken this union, by maintaining that each state is separately and individually independent, as a species of political heresy, which can never benefit us, but may bring on us the most serious distresses.”

    The Dunlap broadside was printed on the night of July 4, 1776. 11 years later, as soon as the Constitution had been signed, John Dunlap and his partner Daniel Claypoole produced the first official printing. Only 11 copies of Dunlap and Claypoole’s official printing of the Constitution are known to exist. Dunlap and Claypoole also printed the text of the Constitution and the list of signers in the September 19th issue of the Pennsylvania Packet. Unlike in 1776, when Benjamin Towne scooped John Dunlap and printed the first newspaper edition of the Declaration of Independence, in 1787, Dunlap and Claypoole’s paper was among the first to print the Constitution on September 19th. As with the Declaration of Independence, other newspapers around the country subsequently printed the Constitution in full. 

    Dunlap and Claypoole also printed a draft of the U.S. Constitution in early August 1787. The Massachusetts Historical Society has a copy of this edition, with annotations by Elbridge Gerry.


    Looking for more on the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Click here!


    Click the image to expand, and click here for a printable version!


    Resources on the U.S. Constitution:


    By Emily Sneff


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    2018The Green Broadside

    2017December Highlight: DunlapNovember Highlight: Charles ThomsonOctober Highilght: Abigail and JohnSeptember Highlight: The Declaration and the ConstitutionAugust Highlight: Son of a SignerJuly Highlight: The First AnniversaryJune Highlight: The Adams FamilyMay Highlight: In the Printing OfficeApril Highlight: The Massachusetts Spy as a Case StudyMarch Highlight: Remembering the LadiesFebruary Highlight: Superintending Independence, Part 2January Highlight: Superintending Independence, Part 12016December Highlight: Founding Fathers?November Highlight: Election ConnectionsOctober Highlight: “With the Declaration of Independence”September Highlight: Extravagant and Inadmissible Claim of IndependencyAugust Highlight: A Tale of Two DeclarationsJuly Highlight: George Rejected and Liberty ProtectedJune Highlight: Atlas of IndependenceMay Highlight: An Instrument which will Perpetuate the Fame of its AuthorApril Highlight: Missing McKeanMarch Highlight: Mary Katherine Goddard


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    The Declaration Resources Project is part of the Democratic Knowledge Project


    Email: [email protected]

    Most people, even those who aren’t serious history buffs know that there were 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Most people also know that there were 39 men who signed the United States Constitution. But, there aren’t a whole lot of people who realize that some of the more famous signers of the Declaration of Independence, such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams never signed the Constitution. Did you?

    Want more? George Washington, who signed the Constitution didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence and the reason is that he was too busy leading troops into battle during the American Revolution.

    I’m fascinated by history and if you are too, you’ll find it interesting that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington, three of the most famous names in American history were not part of the team of men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. However, these six men did.


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    America’s Founding Documents

    The Declaration of Independence expresses the ideals on which the United States was founded and the reasons for separation from Great Britain.

    The Constitution defines the framework of the Federal Government of the United States.

    The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It defines citizens’ and states’ rights in relation to the Government.who signed the constitution and declaration

    This spectacular book written by Alice Kamps, Curator at the National Archives, showcases the National Archives’ renovated Rotunda, the newly re-encased Charters of Freedom, and more. 

     

    Elegant facsimiles on parchment paper are perfect for educational purposes or to decorate your home or office.

     

    For the patriot and lover of our nation’s history, get our founding documents framed and in your home.

     

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    Located on the upper level of the National Archives museum, the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is the permanent home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights.

    Designed by architect John Russell Pope as a shrine to American democracy, the ornate Rotunda with its soaring domed ceiling also features two murals by Barry Faulkner, depicting fictional scenes of the “presentations” of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

     

    Through Founders Online, you can read and search through thousands of documents and records to and from George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison and see firsthand the growth of democracy and the birth of the Republic.  Their letters and journals are a kind of “first draft” of the Charters of Freedom.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This page was last reviewed on October 7, 2021.
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    America’s Founding Documents

    Add your name and become a signer of one of America’s Founding Documents!

    In 1776,
    the Declaration of Independence declared that American colonists were breaking free
    from British rule. In 1787, the Constitution established the United States government.

    Declaration of Independence

    who signed the constitution and declaration

    On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of
    Independence. The document was engrossed on parchment and, one by one, 56 representatives from all 13 colonies signed it.

    Constitution

    The Constitutional Convention assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 to revise America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation – but they
    decided to draft an entirely new frame of government. On September 17, 1787, thirty-eight delegates signed the new United States Constitution.

    If you had been a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, you were a rebel
    and considered a traitor by the King. You knew that a reward had been posted for the capture
    of certain prominent rebel leaders and the largest British armada ever assembled was just outside
    New York harbor. Affixing your name to the document meant that you pledged your life, your fortune,
    and your sacred honor to the cause of freedom.

    If you had been a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, you
    would have spent three hot summer months in secret sessions debating the new
    Constitution. Some of the biggest questions were how much power to give the
    central government, how many representatives each state should have in Congress, and how representatives should be elected. Loyal to their states and
    wary about centralized power, representing wildly different interests and views,
    the delegates crafted compromises. Thirty-eight of the 42 men present signed the
    Constitution (one delegate signed for another who was absent, bringing the total to 39). Three refused to sign because the Constitution lacked a bill of rights.


    Contact us with questions or comments.

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    who signed the constitution and declaration
    who signed the constitution and declaration

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