PurelyPA! Declaration of IndependenceOn July 5, 1776, the Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote was the country’s first newspaper to announce that the Declaration of Independence had been adopted.

The article read as follows:

“Yesterday at noon, the Declaration of Independence, which is published on this newspaper’s front page, was publicly proclaimed in English from an elevated platform in the courtyard of the State House. Thereby the United Colonies of North America were absolved from all previously pledged allegiance to the king of Great Britain, they are and henceforth will be totally free and independent. The proclamation was read by Colonel (John) Nixon, sheriff Dewees stood by his side and many members of the Congress, of the [Pennsylvania] Assembly, generals and other high army officers were also present. Several thousand people were in the courtyard to witness the solemn occasion. After the reading of the Declaration there were three cheers and the cry: God bless the free states of North America! To this every true friend of these colonies can only say, Amen.”

Three days later, on July 8, the Declaration of Independence was publicly read aloud at the State House in Philadelphia, in Easton and Trenton, N.J. They were the nation’s first Independence Day celebrations, accompanied by cheering, musket fire and the tearing down of English emblems.

(Reenactor photo courtesy of the City of Easton)