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The Declaration Of Independence, 240 Years Later

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, is shown placing the document before John Hancock, president of the Congress, in this painting by John Trumbull.

Twenty-eight years ago, Morning Edition launched what has become an Independence Day tradition: hosts, reporters, newscasters and commentators reading the Declaration of Independence.

It was on this date 240 years ago that church bells rang out over Philadelphia, as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Below is the original text of the Declaration, alongside photos of the NPR staff members and contributors who performed the reading.

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