Like Daniel Webster, James Wilson and Joseph Story before him, Lincoln argued that the Declaration of Independence was a founding document of the United States and that it had a significant impact on the interpretation of the Constitution, which was ratified more than a decade after the declaration.  The Constitution did not use the word “equality,” but Lincoln believed that the concept that “all men are created equal” remained part of the nation`s founding principles.  This is the faith he expressed in the opening sentence of his 1863 Gettysburg speech: “Four scores, and seven years ago [i.e. 1776], our fathers created on this continent a new nation, conceived freely, and devoted to the thesis that all men are equal.” In addition to the petition to Parliament and George III, Whig leaders had also worked hard to cultivate friends of the American cause in England. But the British people had not been more receptive to the Whigs than the government, and the declaration thus followed the attack on George III, claiming that the colonies had also appealed in vain to the British people: John Hancock, the president of the Congress, was the first to sign the parchment sheet with a 241/4 measure of 293.4 inches. He used a bold signature centered under the text. In accordance with the prevailing practice, the other delegates have begun to sign on the right under the text, their signatures are classified according to the geographical location of the states they represent. New Hampshire, the northernmost state, started the list, and Georgia, the southernmost, completed it. Finally, 56 delegates signed, although not all were present on 2 August. Among the signatories, Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton found that he had no place to sign with the other New Hampshire delegates. Some delegates who voted in favour of the adoption of the declaration on July 4, despite the congress`s decision of July 19, should never sign that the document inscribed “should be signed by every member of Congress.” Non-signatories included John Dickinson, who was committed to the idea of reconciliation with Great Britain, and Robert R.
Livingston, one of the Five`s committees, who felt that the explanation was premature. But from the revolutionary`s point of view, the main advantage of the wording of Lot 10 was undoubtedly its targeted ambiguity. The Multitude of New Offices referred to customs offices established in the 1760s to combat colonial smuggling. The “officers swarms”, which would have devoured the substance of the three million inhabitants of the colonies, numbered about fifty throughout the continent. But Congress could hardly attack George III as a tyrant, because he appointed a few dozen men to enforce anti-smuggling laws, so he dressed the prosecution in vague, evocative images that gave importance and emotional resonance to what otherwise seemed rather unlikely.23 The committee was made up of two New England men, John Adams of Massachusetts and Sherman Roger of the Connecti; two middle-colony men, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York; and a Southerner, Thomas Jefferson, from Virginia. In 1823 Jefferson wrote that the other members of the committee “pushed me unanimously to take the train. I agreed; I drew it; But before I reported it to the commission, I reported it separately to Dr.
Franklin and Mr. Adams and asked for their corrections . . . I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and it remained unchanged in Congress. (If Jefferson made a “fair copy” with the modifications made by Franklin and Adams, it was not retained. It may have been the copy that was amended by Congress and used for printing, but in any case it did not survive.