National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1765-1786: We win a hard-fought Revolution and seize its promise of liberty

August 2, 1776
Most members of Congress sign Declaration of Independence

William Paca

William Paca, 1740-1799

He signed the Declaration of Independence

William Paca, a fourth-generation resident of Maryland whose ancestors had emigrated from Italy, supported the American Revolution. When it seemed Maryland would vote against declaring freedom, Paca traveled the state and successfully built support for the Declaration of Independence, which he signed as a delegate to the Continental Congress. But in 1787, Paca refused to attend the Constitutional Convention.

Paca, with other anti-Federalists, believed that the Constitution didn’t provide enough safeguards to protect the states from the power of the national government. At Maryland’s convention to ratify the Constitution, he suggested a long list of changes. But the delegates refused to consider any amendments and voted to ratify the Constitution. Paca later became a supporter of the new national government and accepted an appointment as a federal judge.

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