It was written by Thomas Jefferson, although Jefferson wanted John Adams to write it. But Adams knew Jefferson, being a Virginian, would help sway the southern states
The Second Continental Congress appointed John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman to come up with a declaration of independence.
Upon adopting the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock is quoted as saying, "We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together." To which Benjamin Franklin replied, "Yes, we must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
John Hancock, from Massachusetts, and President of the Second Continental Congress signed it on July 4, 1776. The document was then printed and read to the public. On July 19, Congress ordered the document to be written on parchment and all Congress' members were ordered to sign it. Most members signed it on August 2, with the rest signing on later dates bringing the total amount of signatures to 56.