Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?

The signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is without a doubt one of the most important documents ever to be written in American history. It was signed by fifty-six different men, all representatives from different states. But who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Most of us know today the author of the Declaration of Independence as Thomas Jefferson. But many do not know the history behind the man or the Declaration. Let’s look at some important events leading up to the signing and writing of the Declaration.

Why was the Declaration written?

During the 1700s, the British Parliament passed several laws that limited the freedoms of many English colonists in America. Theses limitations resulted in the forming of the first Continental Congress in 1774. A list of complaints was sent to King George III but was ignored and after the second meeting of the Continental Congress and another ignored letter, the colonists felt that they needed something to declare their independence. Rebellion was the only choice the colonists felt they had left due to the King ignoring their letters.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

Although we know Thomas Jefferson as the true author, the Second Continental Congress initially appointed five people to draw up a declaration. The committee included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was then given the task of writing a draft for the Declaration of Independence, which from June 11 to June 28 he worked on. Before he presented the Declaration to the Continental Congress, he showed it to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin; they made revisions. He presented the draft to Congress on July 1, 1776 and more revisions were made. On the fourth of July the delegates met in what we know today as Independence Hall, but back then was known as the Pennsylvania State House, and approved the Declaration. John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress signed the declaration along with Charles Thomson and it was sent to John Dunlap’s print shop for printing.

About Thomas Jefferson

As the author of the Declaration of Independence there is much history behind the actual writing of the Declaration, from education to politics.

Early years of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 into a family that was related to some of the most prominent individuals in Virginia. In school Jefferson studied Latin, Greek and French, and when he was fourteen years old his father died. Jefferson inherited a lot of land and dozens of slaves.


Thomas Jefferson practiced law in the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1774 he wrote “A Summary View of the Rights of British America”? which became a very powerful argument of American terms for settlement with Britain. It would definitely light a fire and help to speed the way to independence. Jefferson drew heavily on George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights and much of his own work on the Virginia Constitution in his efforts to write the Declaration of Independence. Twenty six changes were made before the actual draft was given to the Continental Congress.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Well, the author is known as Thomas Jefferson, but there were many hands that helped revise and deliver the document and more importantly, fifty six that signed and would have given their lives for the cause of freedom.

Cite This Page

"Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 21 May. 2013. Web. 30 Jul. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/independenceday/261/who-wrote-the-declaration-of-independence/ >.

The Declaration Of Independence
The Declaration Of Independence
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  • Anon ymous

    So very sad, that not one word of this is being taught in Public Schools any more.

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      not true, we learn this in history where i go to school

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          mine sort of does.

    • america1877topresent

      I’m a US History teacher and my students read and summarize the Declaration of Independence.

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    My friend is taking a test and one of the questions were who wrote the declaration of independence and the choices are george washington abrham lincoln barack obama and james maddison… thomas jefferson is not an option and it is an american citizen test…im confused please help!!!

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  • steats

    Ok. so the Continental Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence, why didn’t they let the people vote for it too. Anyone?