History
Fact-checked

At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

Why Was August 2nd an Important Date in American History?

August 2nd marks the day in 1776 when members of the Second Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence, a pivotal step in America's journey toward sovereignty and self-determination. This act of unity and courage laid the foundation for the nation we know today. How did this moment shape the future of the United States? Join us as we uncover the impact.

It doesn't have the prestige of the Fourth of July, but August 2, 1776, was a red-letter day in American history. Despite its importance, the Declaration of Independence was not signed until almost a month after it was approved by members of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. After that approval, the document was sent to a printer, John Dunlap, who made 200 copies, but it wasn't until August 2nd that an engrossed copy – a final version that is ready to be signed – arrived back in Philadelphia.

One by one, the members signed the Declaration, but it's interesting to note that while 49 delegates were present for the original vote, 56 congressional members' signatures are on the document. According to historian Herbert Friedenwald, those members who signed were not necessarily the same as those who voted.

I do declare:

  • The original draft of the Declaration of Independence went through 86 revisions before being approved.

  • Only 26 of the copies of the Declaration printed by John Dunlap still exist.

  • Only six people signed both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including Benjamin Franklin.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Although the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, it wasn't signed until August 2nd of that year.
      Although the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, it wasn't signed until August 2nd of that year.