Huzzah! The time of British oppression is finally over!Three Dog, after completion of the quest.

Stealing Independence is a Fallout 3 quest, a PC and Xbox 360 achievement and a PlayStation 3 trophy.

Abraham Washington in Rivet City wants you to retrieve the Declaration of Independence for him to display in the Capitol Preservation Society.

Quick walkthrough[edit | edit source]

Side Quest: Stealing Independence
Speak to Abraham Washington at the Capitol Preservation Society in Rivet City.
Locate the National Archives and enter.
Defend the Rotunda.
Ignore the Rotunda.
Partner with Sydney.
Ignore Sydney.
Kill Sydney.
Reward: Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG.
Use the Rotunda elevator to reach the sub-basement.
Fight through the National Archives to get to the sub-basement.
Choose a path to fight through the Archives passageways.
Optional: Search side chambers.
Shut down turrets using Repair.
Reward: Magna Carta and Bill of Rights.
Quick route: Repair the utility gate using Science.
Slower route: Lockpick the metal door to bypass security.
Slowest route: Fight your way through the Archives passages.
Locate Button Gwinnett's chamber and speak to him.
Use Speech to tell Gwinnett you are Thomas Jefferson (neutral Karma).
Kill Button Gwinnett (negative Karma).
Agree to help Gwinnett (positive Karma).
Locate the ink container in the Arlington Library.
Tell Gwinnett to continue the good fight (positive Karma).
Tell Gwinnett to self-destruct (negative Karma).
Reward: Declaration of Independence and Button's wig.
Return to Abraham Washington in Rivet City.
Reward: 400 caps and Schematics - railway rifle.

Detailed walkthrough[edit | edit source]

Acquiring the quest[edit | edit source]

Talk to Abraham Washington in Rivet City or go directly to the National Archives and enter the rotunda on the first floor.

Encountering Sydney[edit | edit source]

When you get to the National Archives in the rotunda, you'll find Sydney, another treasure hunter sent by Abraham Washington to get the Declaration of Independence but never returned.

If you help her by fending off the super mutants, you can take her on as a companion through to the end of the quest.

If you decline to take her on as a companion, Sydney might appear later in a random encounter, "Seeking revenge for declining her offer."

Sydney can be completely avoided. By entering the backdoor of the National Archives, one can bypass the rotunda and retrieve the Declaration of Independence. Upon returning to the rotunda, Sydney will not be there. The mini quest to defend the rotunda is still triggered, however. Alternatively, if you go to the eastern door in the room with the terminals (before the Rotunda) you can also skip the defend the rotunda unmarked quest.

Sydney's shortcut[edit | edit source]

If you take Sydney with you, she will tell you that she has hacked a secret elevator that will get you very close to the Declaration's location. Interact with the computer terminal where you found her, which will trigger a secret elevator to appear in front of you. This will drop you into the secure wing of the National Archives. Head north and you will have to fight/sneak past a number of robots. In the first room is a broken door that is automatically repaired with Science better than 67. In this room is the power generator for the turrets guarding the various documents (Sydney will point this out to you if she is with you), but you can only activate it with a Repair skill of 60. There are several Hard- and Very Hard-locked doors and significant gas leaks.

Encountering Button Gwinnett[edit | edit source]

Regardless of which path you choose, there will be a bunch of level-dependent robots, including protectrons, Mister Gutsies, sentry bots, and the occasional robobrain, as well as Mark IV turrets below that are hostile. You'll eventually be approached by a robot that has been programmed as the second signer of the Declaration, Button Gwinnett. At this point, you can either:

  • Kill Gwinnett and have to fight off many more robots.
  • Agree to help Gwinnett by forging the Declaration of Independence with supplies from Arlington Library (aka "trick the Redcoats"). Once you give the ink container to Gwinnett, he will create a forgery for you to give to Abraham Washington. If you tell him to continue to guard the document or do whatever he likes, he will remain active and you will gain Karma. If you give him the order to self-destruct, you will lose Karma. You can still take the genuine Declaration and give both to Abraham.
  • Convince Gwinnett you are Thomas Jefferson through a speech challenge, which will allow you to simply grab the Declaration and leave without having to do anything more. However, he will deactivate himself, after which you can kill him without Karma loss or causing the turrets to turn hostile.
  • Order Gwinnett to shut down if you have the Robotics Expert perk.

Getaway[edit | edit source]

At this point, you either have the real Declaration of Independence, a copy of it, or both.

To get out, you can…

  • Go back the way you came, perhaps using the secret elevator again.
  • Go through the utility door to the left of Button (which leads to a room with protectron containers) and then to the main floor.
  • Fight your way back up the stairs. If you killed Button Gwinnett, there will be a bunch of robots trying to stop you in the basement. Or the door to the west of the room leads to an elevator exit once the door is unlocked.
    • On your way up, you can find the Bill of Rights on one of the floors in the fenced off area with a safe inside (next to a Lying, Congressional Style). You can also find the Magna Carta directly across from where you found The Bill of Rights. The fenced-off area is protected by two Average-locked doors, and two Mark IV turrets. Both can be sold to Abraham Washington (100 caps for the Bill of Rights, 75 for the Magna Carta, more with a speech check).

Sydney's quest[edit | edit source]

After the delivery of the Declaration of Independence to Abraham Washington, ask Sydney, "So, whatever happened to your father?" Previously, this dialogue path was closed as she did not trust you. Now she mentions her father and that he used to call her "Little Moonbeam." If you have found her father's body and holotape in the Statesman Hotel, the option to tell her about her father's message will be available. She will reward you with Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG. You can actually exploit this. The choice of asking her about her gun doesn't go away, so when you ask her about it, the option of asking about her father appears again. When you choose it, you can once again give her the message to continue to get rewarded again and again. This is still not fixed as of patch 1.7.

Quest stages[edit | edit source]

20 Retrieve the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives.
30 Defend the Rotunda.
50 (Optional) Bring Button Gwinnett the ink.
60Quest finishedReturn to Abraham Washington in Rivet City.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • When Sydney is your companion, you can ask her at any time whether she has been hurt. If she says yes, you have the further option of giving her a stimpak, which she will use immediately.
  • If the Lone Wanderer has 7 Intelligence, they can say that Abraham is looking for the Declaration of Independence. With 8 Intelligence, however, the option is not offered.
  • Once you pass the Speech check, Button will also blow himself up if you call him a disgrace to Congress.
  • If you choose to retrieve the ink from Arlington Library, after retrieving the forged copy from Button, you will gain access to the safes and the shortcut back to the ground floor of the National Archives.
    • This shortcut room contains the pods for the robots, including an inactive "Thomas Jefferson" robot and a backup robot that can have Jefferson's programming transferred to it. As mentioned in some of the computer bulletins, someone has hacked the voice of the robot, replacing it with a radio tuned in to GNR.
    • The broadcast is due to a pre-War prank mentioned on some of the terminals in the building, which included swapping the voice software of the protectron with a radio uplink and frequency scanning software. The recall signal does not function, but activating the Shutdown causes it to explode.
  • Pick up the real Declaration only if you plan on delivering the real Declaration to Abraham Washington, because he'll take either document (real or fake). If you give Abraham Washington the fake copy, then return for the real thing, you will not be able to drop it (still a quest item), but it's a much better trophy than a bottle of ink. After this, the ink bottle becomes droppable (on GOTY editions, you are unable to drop/will be stuck with both the ink and the real copy of the Declaration, if you chose to take both).
    • See bugs for more information.
  • Completing this quest by returning any form of the Declaration to Abraham Washington will make Three Dog of Galaxy News Radio make mention of you in the news ("Huzzah! The time of British oppression is over!).
  • Remember to speak with Sydney after delivering the Declaration—she does not remain in Rivet City after the quest and will head to Underworld via Anacostia Crossing just north and to the right of Rivet City when exiting. She will be just inside the gate of Anacostia Crossing.
  • If you pass a Speech check from Abraham Washington, he will tell you that he already sent a wastelander such as you to recover the Declaration. He continues to say that sacrifices must be made to preserve history.
  • You can get an extra 100 caps for the Bill of Rights and 75 caps for the Magna Carta. They're in two different safes along the long way in the sub-level. See the loot section above.
  • All three documents—the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta—show up on the Capitol Preservation Society wall of documents in golden frames after being sold to Abraham Washington.
  • If you select the "This is getting ridiculous" option, you can exit the strongroom and then reenter to continue speaking with Button.
  • Early in development, the player could additionally find the Emancipation Proclamation, Monroe Doctrine, U.S. Declaration of War on China and the U.S. Declaration of War on Germany in the Archives. In the final game, the only remnants of the documents are entries on the Capital Preservation Society terminal detailing what they contain and Washington's opinions on them.
  • Even with Robotics Expert, there is no way to order or trick Button Gwinnett to his alcove in the robotic bay for repair or transfer to backup protection unit.
  • If you use the same glitch that you use to obtain Colonel Autumn's 10mm pistol and coat, and with 100 lockpick, you can steal the Declaration of Independence with no Karma loss, and without Button becoming hostile.
  • The Bill of Rights is marked as a quest item and is unable to be dropped. The Magna Carta, however, can be dropped at any time.
  • Convincing Button to give you the Declaration, real or fake, will turn friendly all sentry bots and turrets of the National Archives. However, Sydney will still attack the turrets at sight.

Bugs[edit | edit source]

  • PCIcon pc.png For various reasons usually related to Sydney's death (or resurrection by use of console commands), there will be no option to give Abraham Washington the Declaration of Independence. It is possible to complete this quest with Sydney alive or dead by entering a console command setstage 14ea2 100; however, the Declaration of Independence will remain in your inventory — you will be unable to sell it, drop it or remove it in any other way, as it is a quest item, though quest items do not actually weigh anything (despite what their weight actually reads). You can, however, remove it using the console command player.removeitem 3a7f 1, or use the command setquestobject 3a7f 0 to remove the "quest item" flag. If instead you have the Forged Declaration, use player.removeitem 6b192 1 or setquestobject 6b192 0 correspondingly. If you have the Ink container stuck in your inventory, use the corresponding console commands to remove it from the inventory (player.removeitem 3aa2 1) or remove the "quest item" flag (setquestobject 3aa2 0). [verified]
  • PCIcon pc.png One of the super mutants triggered by defending the Rotunda causes glitches. It hangs out near the front door to the Archives. It is invisible and you cannot harm it with guns, but you can harm it with grenades or mines. It cannot harm you either. Companions may successfully kill it, but immediately upon its death, the game freezes. Leaving it alive keeps Sydney uncommunicative — she'll just keep telling you that the muties are coming — so you can't take her along on the quest. It is possible to bypass this glitch and continue in the mission by entering the console command setstage 14ea2 50. [verified]
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.