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U.S. History/Declaration of Independence - Engrossed or embossed?


Hi Michael
Could you clear something up for me? In literature about the Declaration of Independence the final copy that was signed is described as the 'engrossed' or 'embossed' copy. As far as I can find out, these terms mean different things - the former means the final official copy and the latter means it has some raised seal or stamp on it to validate it's authenticity. Is one term more correct that the other with regard to the Declaration?
Many thanks for your help.


I believe the proper term is engrossed.  There is no seal or raised lettering on the official copy that is in the National Archives.  It is hand written in long hand with an ink quill.  There is no seal or stamp on it.  Many sources use the term "embossed," including the National Park Service.  I may have used it my self in error occasionally.  But engrossed makes more sense based on the document.

- Mike  

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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