Happy Birthday America!

National Archives Museum

National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C.

We all know the Declaration of Independence was signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia 238 years ago.  But today’s visitors can gaze upon the original document in the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C.   Inside that museum, in a place called the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, visitors can view the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

For those of us who can’t get to the nation’s capital, the National Archives recreates the experience in an online exhibit, also called the Charters of Freedom.  Website visitors can view images of the original documents and their transcripts.  You can also learn more about the history and impact of these important documents.  You can even add your own name to the signers of the Declaration of Independence and learn more about each of the individuals who originally signed it.

The Library of Congress also has a collection of online exhibits called American Memory.  One of the exhibits in the collection is A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1875.  Contained within this exhibit are records of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, Journals and Debates of Congress, and older statutes, bills, and resolutions.  The text of the Declaration of Independence appears on the July 4, 1776 pages of the Journals of the Continental Congress.

Declaration of Independence

Click on the Declaration to enlarge it


For more information about locating early United States legislative information, don’t hesitate to call on your librarians.



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