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Declaration of Independence

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An original copy of the Declaration of Independence was the centerpiece of this exhibit.

On the night of July 4, 1776, John Dunlap of Philadelphia printed approximately 200 copies of the newly drafted and approved Declaration of Independence. The copies were sent by horseback to the thirteen colonies and read aloud throughout the new nation.

The Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for personal freedoms and individual rights in the United States.  Beyond serving as a proclamation of independence from Great Britain, it set forth ideals for human rights that have become the blueprint for democracy in America and around the world.  Its words are the basis of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights.

Only twenty-five copies of this momentous document survive today. Its stop at The California Museum was the only Northern California appearance on a nationwide tour of this rare Dunlap broadside.