Upon adopting the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock is quoted as saying, “We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together.” To which Benjamin Franklin replied, “Yes, we must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
John Hancock, from Massachusetts, and President of the Second Continental Congress signed it on July 4, 1776. The document was then printed and read to the public. On July 19, Congress ordered the document to be written on parchment and all Congress’ members were ordered to sign it. Most members signed it on August 2, with the rest signing on later dates bringing the total amount of signatures to 56.