The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The document was largely written by Thomas Jefferson, as part of a committee headed by John Adams and also including Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingstone, and Roger Sherman. The document declared that the colonies were "free and independent states" and served as a formal announcement and justification of the colonies' split from England. As such, it is often considered the founding document of the United States of America.
Contrary to its representation in popular culture and the famous painting by John Trumbull, the document was approved on July 4th but not signed on that day by anyone except John Hancock and secretary Charles Thomson; the original draft was sent to the printers, and most delegates signed on August 2.
The Muppets have frequently demonstrated their patriotism by re-enacting the signing of the Declaration.
- The Muppet portion of the special I Love Liberty emphasized the heated congressional debates and stick fighting which historically composed much of the early discussion over independence, but Kermit notes that it all ended in the Declaration of Independence and the founding of a new nation.
- In an American Revolution sketch on Sesame Street, Don Music plays Jefferson, trying to finish the Declaration of Independence. However, his quill pen has broken, and he needs a replacement from Mr. Grover.
- John Hancock's signature on the document appears in The Sesame Street 1976 Calendar, representing D in the "An American Alphabet" centerfold.
- Baby Kermit plays John Hancock with Baby Fozzie as Benjamin Franklin signing the Declaration in the 1991 Muppet Babies coloring book A Trip Through Time.
- The first episode of Muppets Tonight depicted the event in a "Great Moments in Elvis History" sketch.
- The Sesame Street book B is for Books! depicts the signing, with Telly Monster as Ben Franklin and Slimey waving a flag above the date.
- The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History tells the story as a live show at Walt Disney World.
- After marching into the painting in the original Muppet Babies episode "Out-of-This-World History," the babies briefly witness the signing of the Declaration yet again, from their time machine in the 2018 Muppet Babies reboot episode "Piggy's Time Machine."