Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
All the colonies except New York (which abstained) voted in favor of the resolution. (Follow this link to see the actual results of the vote - look at the lower right side.) On July 2, 1776 Congress approved the concept: the British colonies would sever all political ties with Great Britain. John Adams told his wife Abigail it was the greatest day in the history of the country.
More work had to be done on the Declaration itself to make it acceptable to all the colonies. The committee needed two more days to complete the final draft. (Follow this link to see handwritten changes by Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin.)
On July 4, 1776 the final version of the Declaration of Independence was ready for a vote. This time, even New York approved. When it came time for the representatives to sign the document - which actually put them in peril with the Crown - John Hancock, president of the Congress, signed in huge letters. He wanted to be sure the king saw his name. Today, his is the only signature still legible on the original Declaration.