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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





July 6, 2009

George Read

Although many of us are familiar with some of the more famous signers of the United States Declaration of Independence (like John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Adams), there were actually 56 signers. One of the men that signed the document was a delegate from Delaware by the name of George Read.

George Read was born September 18, 1733 in Cecil County, Maryland. His father, John Read was one of the founders of Charlestown, Maryland but moved the family to Delaware when George was an infant. George studied law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was admitted to the bar and then returned to Delaware to practice law in 1754.

Read soon got involved with politics and was the leader of the majority “Court Party” in Delaware. Like many of the colonists at the time he was opposed to the Stamp Act and other laws passed by the British Parliament and often spoke out against them. Once the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Read became the President of the Delaware constitutional convention tasked with drafting a constitution for the state which became the Delaware Constitution of 1776.

Read served as the Speaker in both the 1776/77 and the 1778/79 sessions of the Delaware General Assembly and also served as the third President of Delaware from October 20, 1777 to March 31, 1778 and continued to serve in the Legislative Council through the 1778/79 session.

What makes George Read different than all the other signers of the Declaration of Independence? Although Read had many disagreements with the British Parliament, he sided with most of the citizens of Delaware who favored reconciliation with Great Britain rather than outright independence. So on July 2, 1776 when the vote was taken to declare independence from Great Britain, Read voted against it. When it was adopted anyway, he signed it.

Mark Bowman

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