"Revolutionary America! 1763-1789 April 20-November 3, 2002

The Colonies Commit Treason

56 Traitors Who Signed the Declaration of Independence
photo of exhibit section
In this photo:
WOVEN TAPESTRY depicting the signing of "The Declaration of Independence" by the Wullschlege & Co., Inc., Lyons, France, 1928, based on the oil painting by Jonathan Trumbull. Gift to president-elect Herbert Hoover in 1928.
FACSIMILE of the DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE, true to size, and distributed to each presidential library and to former living presidents "in recognition of their capacity as former custodians of our nation's Charter Document." Gift from American Legion William R. Blackshear Post 78, Jasper TX
  On loan from the collection of:
    --Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch IA

"... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence, all fully aware that the punishment for treason was death by hanging or dismemberment. What happened to them?

Five Southern delegates were captured by the British, arrested as traitors and brutally tortured. Twelve had their homes ransacked, looted, burned and other property destroyed. Nine fought and died from either wounds or hardships suffered during the war. One returned home to find his wife had died and his 13 children vanished.

After the war, most of the surviving delegates served their new government. Two signers became President of the United States (Adams and Jefferson). Two had sons who became President (Adams and Harrison). One had a grandson succeed to the top office (Harrison). One received renewed fame from the modern television show, West Wing (the president's character is a fictional descendant of Josiah Bartlett).

Please honor the following 56 men (listed in alphabetical order by state):
DELAWARE: Thomas McKean, George Read, Caesar Rodney
CONNECTICUT: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
GEORGIA: Button Gwinnet, Lyman Hall, George Walton
MARYLAND: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone
MASSACHUSETTS: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine
PENNSYLVANIA: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, George Ross, Benjamin
Rush, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple
NEW JERSEY: Abraham Clark, John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon
NEW YORK: William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Philip Livingston, Lewis Morris
RHODE ISLAND: William Ellery, Stephen Hopkins
NORTH CAROLINA: Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, John Penn
SOUTH CAROLINA: Thomas Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge
VIRGINIA: Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee,
Thomas Nelson Jr., George Wythe


When Did it Happen? Sub-Sections
The Shot Heard Round the World
  Miniature Diorama
  George Washington, Commander in Chief
Common Sense
  Pamphlet, "Common Sense"
The Colonies Commit Treason
  56 Traitors Who Signed the Declaration of Independence (You are here)


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