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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From The Vault

Stealing Independence

location: Rivet City
National Archives
Arlington Library
given by: Abraham Washington
other npcs: Sydney
Button Gwinnett
reward: 400 Caps (If done alone), 330 XP and Schematics - Railway Rifle
base id: 00014EA2
Stealing Independence

requirements: Complete Stealing Independence
gamerscore: 20
trophy type: Bronze

Stealing Independence is a Fallout 3 quest. It is also 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.



Abraham Washington in Rivet City tells you to go to the National Archives to get the Declaration of Independence. (You can also acquire the quest simply by going directly to the National Archives and entering the rotunda on the first floor; this will not influence the outcome or the reward for completing the quest.)

To get to the National Archives from Rivet City, enter the nearby Anacostia Metro Station, and make your way through Museum Station to The Mall. Be careful, as these tunnels are populated by Raiders, Mirelurks, and Feral Ghouls. You can look at the world map view on your trusty Pip Boy to see the usual line of dots that will give you a general idea of where to go. The signs with the map of the metro station connections can be helpful, as many areas that cannot be reached from the surface are accessible through the metro.

When you get to The National Archives you'll find Sydney in the rotunda on the first floor. She was also sent by Abraham Washington to get the Declaration of Independence before you, but never returned. Be careful as you approach her because she mined the room, and you'll lose karma if you take her mines before speaking with her (you can disarm without karma penalty). (apparently fixed as of (PC))

Slink through the mines she's laid and she'll ask you to assist her in holding off two waves of Super Mutants. Once you kill about 4-6 Super Mutants you'll be able to start a dialogue with her and she'll ask to partner up with you to find the declaration. If you agree, she will fight by your side until this quest is completed or she dies, whichever comes first. Be Careful where you begin dialogue with her. On some instances after exiting dialog, she will be blown up by her own mines.


From this point you can pursue several paths:

  • Forget Sydney. You can decline her offer of support and find the document without her, which can make your travels harder, but it's your choice. If you choose this route, you can just let her be or kill her and take Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG from her corpse.You could also activate any remaining mines while she is following you and have them blow her up (it takes a few mines for her to die). 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 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.
  • Accept her offer but have her wait in the rotunda while you clear the way to the Archival Strongroom yourself.
  • Accept her offer and either pursue the document immediately or retain her services as a sidekick while you do other things. For example, if you haven't yet done so, you may wish to...

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 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). There are several Hard and Very Hard Locked Doors and significant gas leaks. If you didn't make her wait in the rotunda, you'll need to micro-manage Sydney so you don't get immolated. The best way to do this is to clear out almost the entire building without entering the area where Sydney is located. Just make sure that before entering the room where Button Gwinnett is located you go back and team up with Sydney. Then simply use the secret elevator to skip the return journey.

If you don't take Sydney's help, or if you just want a longer quest, forget about the secret elevator and take the long way to the Declaration.

  • Be careful as you advance through the first floor of The National Archives because there are booby traps and Super Mutants. In one of the big rooms you'll find double wooden doors under an exit sign. That will be labeled as the Archives Stronghold and will actually be an elevator that will take you to the stronghold with a computer terminal and a bunch of robot containers and computer terminals next to them. You can use the computer terminal to unlock all the security doors.
  • It is also possible to accept Sydney's help, then kill her after you have obtained the declaration, thereby getting her help and access to the lift AND getting the solo reward AND getting her ULTRA smg. However if you leave the museum with her then killing her will make no difference except when talking to Washington you can say she didn't make it. If you kill her before speaking to Button then the turrets behind him will open fire. When you speak to Washington at the end of the quest, do not ask about the collection but just say straight away "I have the declaration" and he will give you all the rewards. If you go for the top answer, and then stop him to tell him you have it then the only options are to tell him Sydney helped you but died, or that you were joking, at which point you can tell him without asking about the collection to gain all rewards. This I believe is the best option, although you do get bad karma for killing her.

Regardless of which path you choose, There will be a bunch of Mr. Gutsy , Sentry, and 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, this involves forging the Declaration of Independence with supplies from Arlington Public Library (aka "trick the Redcoats"). Once you give the ink to Gwinnett, he will create a mirror perfect forgery for you to give to Abraham Washington. Gwinnett will then ask what his next orders are. You can tell him to blow up (negative karma), or keep fighting the good fight (good karma). There is no penalty for giving Washington the forged document.
  • Convincing Gwinnett you are Thomas Jefferson through a speech challenge, this will allow you to simply grab the Declaration and leave without having to do anything more.
  • Follow the dialogue options and accept the forgery quest, it is possible to then walk behind Button and get a sneak attack critical on him, knocking him out in one shot. You are then free to take the declaration and other documents from the safes, loot Button, the room and leave with no further hassle from robots. Killing Button while he is flagged as friendly does result in negative karma and will not affect the end quest reward.
  • Order Gwinnett to shut down if you have the Robotics Expert perk.

Still More Options

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 right 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.
    • On your way up you can find the 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. Both can be sold to Abraham Washington (100 caps for the The Bill of Rights, 75 for the Magna Carta).

Notable loot


  • If you choose to retrieve the ink from Arlington Library after retrieving the forged copy from Button, he can be commanded to "Blow himself up" (Loss Karma). This will give you 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. You are also given the option to tell Button to keep fighting the good fight and continue to protect the Declaration of Independence (gain karma).
    • You can also gain access to Button's computer after completing the Ink option and commanding him to keep the declaration safe.
  • 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 A.W. 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 deliverance of the Declaration of Independence to Abraham Washington talk to Sydney about "So, whatever happened to your father?". Previously this dialog 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 may also obtain Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG by looting it off of her dead body, either by way of murder or Super Mutant.
  • After delivering the declaration to Abraham Washington with Sydney present, you will both receive rewards. Afterwards, you can talk to her about her future and she will always respond that she is going to take it easy and go into business. She tells you that you can look her up in the Underworld, where she will hang out in The Ninth Circle and sell weapons and ammo. Luckily, the glitch with the Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG will still work when she's in the Underworld. If you want to make sure she arrives there safely, read the suggestions in the Sydney article.

Sydney does not need to be with you while you complete the Archives Stronghold section of the mission. Sydney may disappear if you manage to collect the Declaration of Independence prior to encountering her.

  • When entering the National Archives, there are terminals on the first wall called "Guess and Win." When opening them there is a history quiz with 8 questions. With all 8 answered correctly you will need to go to the next terminal, to the right. The token will be accepted and there are 3 nice little prizes to choose from. Since fallout doesn't always follow actual United States history (or world history for that matter) here are the answers to the questions. (a glitch may occur where the correct answers are already selected before even selecting an option)

Q1: Second Continental Congress Q2: Thirteen Q3: John Hancock Q4: 56 Q5: Ratification Q6: King George III Q7: Happiness Q8: Thomas Jefferson

  • There is also a small room above the computer terminals, if your lockpick skill is high enough then you can open the safe and get 6 vouchers that you can redeem at the terminal to get extra Mentat flavors (this makes 7 Mentat prizes altogether providing that you answered the questions correctly) or alternatively, you can hack the terminal on the desk to unlock the safe.
  • Before you sell any historical items to Abraham Washington you might want to don Button's Wig and down both Grape, and plain Mentats. Doing this may give you high enough barter and speech skills to squeeze the most caps out of him.
  • Completing this quest by returning the (real) 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!) Completing this quest in a negative way may get a negative mention (untested). (PS3)
  • Remember to speak with Sydney after delivering the declaration- she does not remain in rivet city after the quest and will disappear forever instead of going to underworld if you leave rivet city without speaking to her. (PS3)
  • If you pass a speech check from Abraham Washington, he will tell you that he already sent a wastelander such as the PC, to recover the Declaration. He continues to say sacrifices must be made to preserve history.
  • The events of this quest are very similar to the events of the movie National Treasure, with Sydney being the treasure hunter who is trying to steal the Declaration of Independence for the good of the country and their wallets.



Undroppable items

It could be, that the Ink Container and the Declaration of Independence are Un-droppable after this quest.
The best way to get both out of the inventory AND store them in a locker in your home is doing the following:

  1. Go to your home facing any locker you want the items to be stored.
  2. open console and type "player.removeitem 00003A7F 1" to remove the Declaration of Independence out of inventory.
  3. Click on the locker to make it the active prid-item.
  4. type in the console "additem 00003A7F 1" to add the Declaration of Independence to the locker.
  5. type in the console "player.removeitem 3AA2 1" to remove the ink from your inventory.
  6. Click on the locker to make it the active prid-item.
  7. type in the console "additem 3AA2 1" to add the ink well to the locker.

The ID for the "Forged Declaration" is 0006B192 .

Declaration cannot be handed in

For various reasons usually related to Sydney's death (or resurrection by use of console command) 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 00014ea2 100

If Sydney has remained alive or been resurrected her new dialog will also display correctly. The Declaration will remain in your inventory and can be removed with the following:

  • player.removeitem 3a7f 1

Sydney's Floating Upside Down Gun

It is possible that after teaming up with Sydney when moving between areas; she will hold her SMG upside down floating a small distance from her hand whilst appearing to be in an unarmed fighting stance. This corrects itself by either moving to another area, or Sydney entering combat whereupon she will hold correctly and begin firing. (PS3. Also confirmed on PC and Xbox360)

Super Mutant

When the battle against the Super Mutants takes place after you first meet Sydney, they will be named as Super Mutants both in and out of VATS but may have the appearance and endurance of Brutes, Masters and even Overlords. They may also spawn with their more powerful class weaponry i.e. instead of Hunting Rifles, Assault Rifles or Nail Boards they will spawn with Chinese Assault Rifles, Minigun, Missile Launchers, Sledgehammers and Super Sledges.

This can increase the likelihood of Sydney being killed in this encounter, especially if more than one Missile Launcher wielding "Super Mutant" spawns. This bug is not related to Broken Steel, since it appeared also without the Add-On (PC).

Tip for dealing with wave attacks, kaboom style:

If the player character has Frag Mines available, it is worthwhile to place several groups near the entrance door (The Super Mutants spawn there, as if coming in from the street) and the open doorway to the front of Sydney. This will soften up, cripple, or outright kill members of the first and possibly second first wave.

Also; note that Super Mutants wielding Miniguns or Missile Launchers are a good priority target for Frag Grenades because they move very slowly when attempting to fire. (This applies everywhere in the game)

Quests in Fallout 3

This article uses material from the "Stealing Independence" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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