Did John Dickinson Sign The Declaration of Independence?


Did John Dickinson Sign The Declaration of Independence?

BEST Short Answer:

John Dickinson did not sign the Declaration because he and some of his associate leaders were afraid that the 13 colonies’ independence would fuel up other European imperial powers (France, Spain, Portugal) to invade their land.

Dickinson believed staying under Great Britain’s security umbrella would be a much better idea for the 13 colonies than full independence.

Read more below.

Description – Why Did John Dickinson Not Sign The Declaration of Independence?

John Dickinson didn’t sign the 13 colonies’ historical document for freedom, the Declaration of Independence.

Although John Dickinson was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America; but, he was afraid of signing the Declaration of Independence.

Along with him, some other delegates of the Continental Congress feared that the independence of the 13 colonies from Great Britain would provoke other European imperial powers to invade their land. Because the European powers had always been looking at the 13 North American colonies with greedy eyes.

On top of that, to protect themselves, their military side was not stronger yet. Therefore, he tried so hard to stop the secessionist actions of the Continental Congress from Great Britain.

He and some other delegates tried to American Congress to come to a proper diplomatic negotiation with the English authority.

However, it didn’t mean that John Dickinson was a loyalist or he loved British rule in the 13 colonies. He tried it all, only for the security of the American people. 

Did John Dickinson Sign The Declaration of Independence

Did Dickinson Succeded In His Attempt To Negotiate With British Authority?

No, Dickinson and his supporters got no success in their attempts to negotiate with the British authority.

Delegates including John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, respected his idea for the 13 colonies’ security. But they were on a completely opposite side of Dickinson. They supported the full independence of the 13 colonies.

For assuring John Dickinson and his other supporters, they let them attempt the last negotiation with the English authority and King George III. Especially via sending the Olive Branch Petition.

John Dickinson himself wrote the Olive Branch Petition and then sent it to the British King. But whatever they attempted, it made no effect. Contrary British King George III refused to read and accept the proposal (the Olive Branch Petition).

Even going one step further, King George III declared the colonists traitors.

As a result, it caused a complete failure of all the negotiation attempts. Finally, the rejection led the 13 colonies towards the full-fledged Revolutionary War of America’s independence.

The Declaration of Independence

Who Were The Other Supporters of Dickinson’s Approach?

  • John Jay
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • James Madison
  • Thomas Johnson
  • John Rutledge


Did John Dickinson’s Assumption Prove To Be Right After Independence?

John Dickinson’s concern over the 13 colonies’ independence was quite rationalistic.  However, after the 13 colonies’ independence and the formation of the United States of America, nothing happened the way he assumed.

Probably, France Empire hoped to gain some territories, which they lost during the Seven Years’ War. But once when the Revolutionary War ended, France was not in a condition where they could enter another struggle.

Because the Revolutionary War already broke its economy’s spine. Similarly, under the treaty of Paris 1783, Great Britain already accepted the United States of America (previously 13 colonies) as an independent country.

So, fighting against the newborn country meant the violation of the treaty. Because of these reasons, John Dickinson’s assumption didn’t prove to be right after independence.


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