It took three days for the news to reach New York from Philadelphia: the thirteen colonies, standing up to the British empire, declared that they were "dissolving" their political bonds with the mother country--this even as the Royal Navy was fast approaching New York Harbor. The scene is a bit comical.
The Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, is among the most exquisite documents in the English language, embodying the writings of John Locke, abolishing the so-called "divine right" of kings. It does away from the British inheritance-based notions of entitlement, posing in its place the notion of "natural liberty": that we are each born with the right to freedom. Slavery was a problem for the drafters; see my excerpt below.
Here's my fictional approach of that day, based on historical records from the New York Historical society. (As long as it's fact-based, the historical novelist has some license with the details, which is why historical fiction is so much fun.)
An excerpt from my novel:
"Sneaking out, Rebecca turned the metal knob of the back door. The rising sun spread feathery light on the neglected garden, overrun with creeping thistle. Flowers drooped. Trees hungered for a breeze.
She walked quickly, forcing her body through the dense, thick air, her collar already moist, underarms sticky, beyond her own quiet street towards the harbor. The outstretched lawn cluttered with broadsides, darkened by stampedes of filthy footprints. Spiraling weeds invaded the once-green blades of grass. Rebecca was too light-headed to lean over and pick a pamphlet up, though she knew that reading “Common Sense” might brighten her.
A throng of onlookers crowded the harbor, eyes fixated on the water, lightly skimmed by sunlight. Older gentlemen shook their heads in disbelief, women dotted their eyes with the hems of their dresses, petticoats wilting, crisp and white no more.
So this is really happening, Rebecca thought
< She turned at the sound of her name from behind. Brushed in fuzzy sunlight, the wiry young man smiled at her impishly. His blue eyes shone beneath the faint slant of hooded lids, strands of honey-colored hair pasted to his forehead, damp spirals stuck to his neck. His oversized jacket was carelessly flung open, exposing his taut, efficient body. His leather belt was slung around his hips.