Signers of the Declaration of Independence

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Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The youngest was William Rutledge of South Carolina, who was only 26. The oldest was Benjamin Franklin, then aged 70. He commented that, "We must hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." Charles Carroll of Maryland, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, survived longer than any other, dying at the advanced age of 95 in 1832.

Although it is widely believed that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, the only actual signature on that date was that of John Hancock, who signed as President of the Congress, "by order and in behalf of the Congress," according to the official Journal of the Continental Congress.

By a resolution on July 19, the Congress declared that the resolution of July 4 should be "fairly engrossed." On August 2, having been engrossed on parchment, the document was signed by all available members of Congress. A certain number who not present on August 2 signed at a later date.


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