On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
But the American Revolutionary War was already in its second year. The 56 men who signed the Declaration had risked their lives. If the United States lost the war, the British government could execute them as traitors. As Benjamin Franklin may have said: “Now we must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” They would have to wait until the war was over to know their fate.