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Despite mounting dissatisfaction with British rule in the early 1770s, many colonists were reluctant to pursue total independence from their mother country. By spring of 1776, however, that reluctance was fading rapidly, especially in the Continental Congress, where a resolution calling for political separation from Great Britain met with warm approval in June. Several weeks later, on July 4, the Congress convened in Philadelphia and at one o'clock, formally adopted the Declaration of Independence.
This commemorative print of the text of the Declaration features the likenesses of John Hancock, who presided over the Congress at the time of its adoption; Thomas Jefferson, who wrote it; and George Washington, who at the time of the Declaration's signing was in New York City, preparing his armies to meet an attack from British forces.

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