Explaining the Significance of June 11th, 1776

On June 11th, 1776, something significant happened in American history. The Second Continental Congress, which included prominent founders such as John Hancock, convened in Philadelphia to discuss the colonies’ future. During this meeting, a committee of five members, including Thomas Jefferson from the Virginia Convention, was tasked with drafting a declaration of independence from Great Britain. This document would eventually lead to the formation of the United States.

The committee, consisting of the founders, worked tirelessly for several weeks before presenting their draft and preamble to the Continental Congress on July 4th, signed by John Hancock, which would become known as Independence Day. This declaration marked the beginning of a new era for the United States and set them on a path towards freedom from British rule.

June 11th may not be as well-known as July 4th, but it played an essential role in shaping United States history. It’s a memorial reminder that even small moments, such as the Second Continental Congress, can have significant impacts and change the course of nations forever – even leading to events like the Civil War.

The Committee of Five: Formation and Members

In 1776, the General Congress, consisting of prominent American founders, assembled to form a committee known as the Committee of Five. Their task was to draft a constitution for the government of the newly-formed United States. This committee included George Mason, who had also played a pivotal role in the Virginia Convention.

The Members of the Committee

The members of the Committee of Five, appointed by the General Congress assembled during the Second Continental Congress, were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. These men were chosen for their experience as authors, politicians, and founding fathers of society, representing the American colonies and their views as expressed in the Virginia Convention.

Thomas Jefferson, a mason and prominent figure in American history, was chosen by the second continental congress committee to be the author of a series of drafts that would eventually become the Declaration of Independence. His influence in the United States is still celebrated today with a statue in his honor.

John Adams, a mason by trade, was another important figure in American history who had served as a diplomat and lawyer before being elected as the second president of the United States. Benjamin Franklin was also a well-known diplomat and inventor who played an instrumental role in drafting both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In addition, Thomas Ludwell Lee commissioned a statue in honor of George Washington, which now stands as a memorial in his honor.

Roger Sherman, a lawyer from Connecticut who had served in various political positions throughout his career, made significant contributions to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Robert Livingston, a delegate from New York, played an important role in drafting both documents. Although not as well-known as Sherman or Livingston, Thomas Ludwell Lee was a prominent figure in the American colonies during the colonial era. It is worth noting that there is no statue of Lee in any public space.

The Plan

The plan for the Committee of Five was to draft a constitution for the United States government that would unite people and dissolve political bands with Great Britain. They wanted to create a document that would establish America’s independence while also outlining its basic principles, inspired by the Virginia Declaration of Rights manuscript and the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism.

To accomplish this goal in the United States, they decided to divide their work into subcommittees focused on specific areas such as foreign relations, finance, military affairs, and domestic policy. Each subcommittee would work on its assigned area independently before coming together to finalize their recommendations. If you want to learn more about their process, you can bookmark the website or watch the miniseries or film adaptation.

The Composition

The composition of the committee, representing the United States, exhibited a diverse population at that time. It included representatives from different regions of the country, different political ideologies, and different professions, bookmarking each item discussed. This diversity allowed them to create a document that exhibits the entire nation.

The committee’s composition also reflected the values of the founding fathers of the United States. They believed in individual rights and freedoms, limited government, and democracy, which are exhibited in the final document they produced, known as the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration bookmarked a new era in American history.

Thomas Jefferson’s Role in Drafting the Declaration of Independence

Primary Authorship of the Declaration

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, exhibits his love for the United States in his draft. He was appointed to a committee tasked with drafting the document on June 11th, 1776. Jefferson had already gained a reputation as an eloquent writer and advocate for American independence. His draft, which he later marked with a bookmark, was heavily influenced by Enlightenment ideals and classical republican philosophy. Fun fact: his grandson also became a prominent political figure.

Support from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin

Jefferson’s role in drafting the Declaration of Independence for the United States was supported by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who were also members of the committee. They made some minor changes to his initial draft but largely approved it as written. The three men worked well together, despite their different personalities and backgrounds. Today, the original document is kept under tight security and is a popular exhibit at the National Archives. You can even bookmark a virtual tour of the archives online to show your grandson.

Approval by Congress and Signatures

The final version of the Declaration, which exhibits the values of the United States, was approved by Congress on July 4th, 1776. It contained several revisions made during debates in Congress that lasted for two days after its submission. The document declared that all men are created equal and have certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you find this information interesting, don’t forget to bookmark it for your grandson.

In addition to Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, the committee also included Robert Livingston from New York; Roger Sherman from Connecticut; and Thomas Ludwell Lee from Virginia. George Washington, although not a member of this committee, played a critical role as Commander-in-Chief during this time. As a historical item, his grandson has kept a bookmark with exhibits of Washington’s legacy.

The document exhibits the signatures that were added later throughout August 2nd-September 24th because many delegates were not present on July 4th when it was initially signed. You can bookmark this item to show your grandson.

Impact on American History

Jefferson’s role in drafting the Declaration had a significant impact on American history. His words, which are now bookmarked in history, inspired generations of Americans to fight for freedom and democracy around the world. The document, which now exhibits in museums, helped establish America as a new nation founded on principles that continue to shape our society today, much to the pride of his grandson.

Furthermore, the Declaration served as a bookmark in the history of the American Revolution and is one of the most important exhibits of that time. It helped secure international support for the colonists’ cause and symbolized their rejection of British rule and King George III’s authority over the colonies.


Thomas Jefferson’s legacy lives on through his grandson, who continues to promote exhibits showcasing Jefferson’s contributions to American politics and society. He himself served as the third President of the United States from 1801-1809 until his death in 1826.

Jefferson’s legacy as a Founding Father is complex, however, due to his ownership of slaves and controversial views on race. Despite this, he remains one of America’s most celebrated figures and continues to be studied by historians and scholars around the world. Interestingly, his grandson has also been a subject of study for those interested in the Jefferson family.

Challenges Faced by the Committee of Five in Drafting the Declaration

Limited Time to Complete the Task

The committee of five, which included Thomas Jefferson as a member and future US president, was appointed on June 11th, 1776, with a mandate to draft a declaration that would declare independence from Great Britain. However, they had limited time to complete this task as it was required urgently. Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson’s grandson Randolph would also go on to become a US president. They had only two weeks before presenting their draft to Congress.

To ensure that they met the deadline, Thomas Jefferson took charge and began drafting the document while consulting with other members of the committee. He spent several days working on the initial draft before presenting it to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin for review.

Different Opinions on Content of Declaration

The members of the committee had different opinions on what should be included in the declaration. Some members wanted a strong statement that would condemn British rule and declare independence without any reservation. Others were more cautious and preferred a more diplomatic approach that would not offend some colonies.

Thomas Jefferson faced criticism from some committee members who felt that his initial draft was too radical and could alienate some colonies. He was forced to make changes to his original draft while still maintaining its essence.

Concerns About Offending Some Colonies

The committee had concerns about using language that would offend some colonies or make them feel excluded from the declaration. They needed to ensure that all thirteen colonies were represented in the document and that each colony’s interests were protected.

To achieve this, they used inclusive language such as “we” instead of “I” and avoided using language specific to certain regions or groups within America.

Balancing Persuasion Without Sounding Too Radical

The committee had to balance between being persuasive enough to convince Congress to support their cause while not sounding too radical. They needed to persuade moderate members of Congress who were hesitant about declaring independence while also appealing to radicals who wanted immediate action.

Thomas Jefferson’s original draft contained strong language denouncing British rule and calling for immediate independence. However, the committee toned down the language to make it more persuasive while still maintaining its essence.

The Original Rough Draft of the Declaration

Writing the First Draft

On June 11th, 1776, Thomas Jefferson and the Committee of Five began drafting what would become one of the most important documents in American history. This first draft was known as the “Composition Draft” or “Rough Draught,” and it included a preamble and a list of unalienable rights that were later revised for the final version.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced Jefferson’s composition draft. This document, written by George Mason and adopted by Virginia in 1776, declared that all men had natural rights to life, liberty, and property. These same principles were echoed in Jefferson’s draft.

Jefferson also drew inspiration from the Virginia Constitution, which he helped write in 1776. The constitution established a framework for government based on democratic principles and individual liberties.

Unalienable Rights

The Composition Draft listed three unalienable rights: life, liberty, and property. However, these were later changed to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the final version.

Jefferson believed that these rights were inherent to all people and could not be taken away by any government or ruler. He argued that governments existed solely to protect these natural rights.


The preamble to the Composition Draft set out the reasons why independence was necessary for the United Colonies. It stated that when a government became destructive to individual liberties, it was the right of citizens to alter or abolish it.

This idea was revolutionary at the time because it challenged traditional notions of monarchy and divine right. By asserting that individuals had a right to overthrow their rulers if they violated their natural rights, Jefferson laid out a new vision for governance based on popular sovereignty.


After presenting his draft to Congress on June 28th, 1776, Jefferson worked with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to revise it further. They made several changes, including removing a section that criticized the slave trade and adding language about King George III’s violations of American liberties.

The final version of the Declaration was adopted on July 4th, 1776. It declared that the United Colonies were “free and independent states” and listed a litany of grievances against King George III.


The Original Rough Draft of the Declaration is an important historical document that sheds light on Jefferson’s thinking during this critical period in American history. It demonstrates how he drew from earlier documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights to craft his own vision for a new nation based on democratic principles and individual liberties.

Today, the Original Rough Draft is housed at the Library of Congress and is considered one of the most significant documents in American history. It serves as a reminder of our country’s founding principles and continues to inspire generations to fight for justice, freedom, and equality.

The Final Document: Engrossment on Parchment and Signing by Delegates

Culmination of Several Documents, Letters, and Passages

The final document that was engrossed on parchment and signed by delegates on June 11th, 1776, was not a standalone manuscript. It was the culmination of several documents, letters, and passages that were compiled to form one cohesive document. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the manuscript with input from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.

Involvement of Delegates from Different States

Delegates from different states were involved in considering the manuscript before it was finalized. The Virginia Convention had appointed seven delegates to represent them at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. These included George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson himself, Benjamin Harrison V., Edmund Pendleton, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Carter Braxton.

Connecticut also appointed four delegates to represent them at the Continental Congress – Oliver Wolcott Jr., Samuel Huntington (who would later become President of Congress), William Williams and Roger Sherman.

Laws and Resolves that Would Guide the Pursuit of Happiness in the State

The final document contained laws and resolves that would guide the pursuit of happiness in the state. It declared that all men are created equal and have certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration also listed specific grievances against King George III’s government which had violated these rights.

Mason’s Bookmark and Pen Were Used During Writing

During writing sessions for this important document at Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), George Mason used his bookmark as a paperweight to keep loose pages from flying away while he took notes with his pen.

Engrossment on Parchment And Signing By Delegates

After several drafts were made over a period spanning more than two weeks since June 11th 1776, the final manuscript was engrossed on parchment. Engrossing is the process of preparing a legal document in its final form for execution and signature.

On July 2nd, 1776, Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted on July 4th, and it was then sent to John Dunlap, the official printer to Congress who printed about 200 copies of the Declaration. On August 2nd, the delegates present at Pennsylvania State House signed the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence.

The Dunlap Broadside Release to the Public: First Public Reading of the Declaration

On June 11th, 1776, Thomas Jefferson and the Committee of Five presented their draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. After several revisions, on July 4th, 1776, Congress approved the final version of the document. The next day, John Dunlap printed copies of what would become known as the Dunlap Broadside and distributed them throughout Philadelphia.

The Dunlap Broadside

The Dunlap Broadside was a single-sheet printing of the Declaration of Independence that measured approximately 18 by 12 inches. It contained two columns of text with wide margins and included a heading in large typeface that read “In Congress, July 4th, 1776.” This was followed by the text of the declaration in small typeface.

John Dunlap was commissioned by Congress to print approximately 200 copies of the broadside. He worked through the night on July 4th and had completed his task by early morning on July 5th. These copies were then distributed throughout Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania.

Courtesy Of Congress

The printing of the Dunlap Broadside was made possible through an act of Congress. On July 2nd, they passed a resolution declaring independence from Great Britain. Two days later, they approved a final version of Jefferson’s draft declaration. They then ordered that “copies [of]…the declaration be sent to each one [of]…the United States.”

Congress also authorized John Hancock, President of Congress at that time, to have “an authenticated copy” sent to General George Washington in New York City so he could share it with his troops.

Sidney And Livingston

Two members who played important roles in getting this document out to people were Charles Thomson and Robert R. Livingston Jr., both signers themselves. Thomson served as the Secretary of Congress, and it was his job to oversee the printing and distribution of the Dunlap Broadside. Livingston, a member of the Committee of Five, was instrumental in drafting the final version of the Declaration.

Library And Bowling Green

Today, only 26 copies of the Dunlap Broadside are known to exist. One of these is housed at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. This copy was discovered by historian Peter Force in 1846 among a collection of documents he had purchased from a Philadelphia book dealer.

Another copy is on display at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City. It is believed that this copy was read aloud to George Washington’s troops on July 9th, 1776, from the steps of what was then called City Hall (now Federal Hall). The building stands across from Bowling Green Park where there is now an impressive statue commemorating George Washington.

Thomas Jefferson and the Committee of Five’s Impact on American History

In conclusion, the impact of Thomas Jefferson and the Committee of Five on American history cannot be overstated. Through their tireless efforts, they drafted the Declaration of Independence, which served as a catalyst for revolution and ultimately led to the birth of a new nation.

The formation and members of the committee were carefully selected to ensure that diverse perspectives were represented. Despite facing numerous challenges in drafting the Declaration, including disagreements over wording and phrasing, they persevered and produced a document that would shape American history for centuries to come.

The original rough draft of the Declaration underwent significant revisions before being engrossed on parchment and signed by delegates. The Dunlap Broadside release to the public marked an important moment in history as it was the first public reading of the Declaration.

Moving forward, it is important to remember the contributions made by Thomas Jefferson and his fellow committee members. By reflecting on their legacy, we can gain a better understanding of our nation’s past while also charting a course towards a brighter future.


Q: What role did Thomas Jefferson play in drafting the Declaration?

A: Thomas Jefferson was tasked with writing most of what would become known as the Declaration of Independence. He drew from various sources such as Enlightenment philosophy and English law to craft this historic document.

Q: Who else was part of The Committee of Five?

A: The other members were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston Jr., and Roger Sherman.

Q: Why was there disagreement over certain words or phrases in the Declaration?

A: Different committee members had varying opinions about how certain concepts should be expressed. This led to heated debates over specific language choices throughout much of the drafting process.

Q: How many copies were made when it was first printed?

A: Approximately 200 copies were printed on July 4th, 1776.

Q: How did the public react to the release of the Declaration?

A: The public reaction was mixed. Some people were inspired by its message, while others were skeptical or outright opposed to it. Nonetheless, it marked an important turning point in American history and set the stage for future progress.