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The Significance of Symbols: Two Dollars and the Declaration Scene

The scene depicted on the back of the U.S. two-dollar bill is a powerful representation of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This iconic image serves as a reminder of the historical significance of that momentous event and the principles upon which the United States was founded.

Artistic Rendering:

The depiction on the two-dollar bill is an artistic rendering rather than a literal representation. It combines elements of various historical paintings and engravings to create a composite scene.


The scene takes place in what appears to be the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This location was where the Second Continental Congress convened and where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed.

Key Figures:

The central figures in the scene are the delegates of the Continental Congress who played pivotal roles in the creation and signing of the Declaration. While some of their identities are obscured due to the artistic style, the focus is on the act of signing itself.

John Trumbull's Influence:

The image draws inspiration from John Trumbull's famous painting "Declaration of Independence." While Trumbull's painting features a more detailed and historically accurate representation of the event, the two-dollar bill simplifies and stylizes the scene for artistic purposes.

Symbolic Elements:

The scene features various symbolic elements, such as the presence of the bald eagle, a symbol of American freedom, and the inclusion of the Founding Fathers' signatures, emphasizing the importance of their collective commitment to independence.

A Moment of Unity:

The image captures the spirit of unity and purpose among the delegates as they put pen to parchment to declare their independence from British rule. It symbolizes their shared determination to forge a new nation based on principles of liberty and self-governance.

Historical Accuracy:

While the scene on the two-dollar bill takes artistic liberties, it aligns with the historical facts surrounding the signing. The signing took place over several weeks, with delegates adding their signatures as they were able, not all at once as depicted.

Continued Significance:

The scene on the two-dollar bill serves as a powerful symbol of the enduring ideals of the Declaration of Independence. It reminds us of the sacrifices made by the Founding Fathers and the importance of preserving the freedoms and principles they fought for.

In conclusion, the scene of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the two-dollar bill is a symbolic representation of a pivotal moment in American history. It captures the essence of unity, determination, and the pursuit of freedom that defined the Founding Fathers' vision for the United States. This iconic image continues to inspire and remind us of the principles upon which our nation was built.

Submitted by: Raymond E. Foster


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