The Vault - Fallout Wiki

Crossover banner.jpg
Nukapedia on Fandom


The Vault - Fallout Wiki
Stealing Independence
27 Stealing Independence.png
Quest data
LocationRivet City
National Archives
Arlington Library
Given ByAbraham Washington
Other NPCsSydney
Button Gwinnett
AchievementStealing Independence
Xbox Live gamerscoreIcon gamerscore.png20PlayStation 3 trophyIcon ps3trophy.pngBronze
Editor ID?
Base ID00014ea2

Stealing Independence is a side quest in Fallout 3 as well as an achievement/trophy.


With Washington on the hunt for more treasures to put into his museum, the Lone Wanderer now finds themselves on a dangerous mission to infiltrate heavily guarded National Archives, in search for the Declaration of Independence.


  1. Talk to Abraham Washington in Rivet City; he is the resident museum curator, and is interested in certain relics. One such relic is the 500 year old Declaration of Independence, in which he will offer to pay a large sum of caps to anyone who can delve into the National Archives in the D.C. ruins, and salvage the document.
  2. Upon arriving at the National Archives, the Lone Wanderer will run into Sydney, a treasure hunter, in the rotunda on the first floor. She was also sent by Abraham Washington to retrieve the Declaration of Independence, yet has still not succeeded. Should she be helped and kept alive by fending off the encroaching super mutants, she will join the Lone Wanderer in their search for the Declaration of Independence, for a fair share of the reward.

Sydney's shortcut

  1. If Sydney joins the party, she will reveal to the Lone Wanderer, that she had hacked a secret freight elevator that will take the party very close to the Declaration of Independence's location. Interact with the computer terminal nearby, where Sydney was first discovered, and it will trigger a secret elevator to appear. Taking this elevator will transport the party to the secure wing of the the National Archives. #Head north, and the party will have to fight/sneak past a number of guard robots. In the first room is a broken door that can be automatically repaired with a Science skill at least 67. In this room is the power generator for the turrets guarding the various documents. There are several Hard and Very Hard locked doors in this area, as well as a significant amount of gas leaks throughout the corridors.

The longer way in

On the first floor of the National Archives, there are booby traps and super mutants that will appear and attack both the Lone Wanderer, and Sydney, should she be alive. After they are dealt with, the Lone Wanderer can then safely head to a set of wooden double doors, that will lead to the archives stronghold elevator, that will take them into to a room with a security terminal that can be utilized to unlock the security doors.

Encountering Button Gwinnett

  1. Regardless of which path is taken, the interior of the National Archives will be heavily guarded by Mister Gutsies, sentry bots, and mark IV turrets. After a number of them have been fought through, the Lone Wanderer will come across a robot that has been programmed as the second signer of the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett. At this point the Lone Wanderer can either:
  • Kill Gwinnett, and have to fight off many more robots, or:
  • Agree to help Gwinnett by forging the Declaration of Independence with supplies from the Arlington Library (a.k.a. "trick the Redcoats"). Once the ink container has been retrieved from the library, and given to Gwinnett, he will create a forgery for the Lone Wanderer to give to Abraham Washington. At this point, should Gwinnett be told to continue to guard the real document, or do whatever he likes, he will remain active, and the Lone Wanderer will gain positive Karma.
  • Convince Gwinnett that the Lone Wanderer is Thomas Jefferson through a Speech check, which will allow for them to simply grab the Declaration of Independence, and leave without having to do anything more. With Gwinnett's purpose satisfied, he will permanently shut down, enabling for his death without the consequence of negative Karma.
  • Order Gwinnett to shut down, should the Robotics Expert perk have been taken.

Cash out

At this point, the Lone Wanderer either has the real Declaration of Independence, a copy of it, or both. Return to Abraham Washington and hand the goods over, in which the Lone Wanderer will receive a sum of caps, as well as the schematics for a railway rifle.

Quest stages

Talk to Abraham Travel to the National Archives, and deal with the super mutant invaders
Take the elevator, and unlock the security doors Deal with the robotic guards, and meet Button Gwinnett
Either take the real document, or follow Gwinnett's advice and forge a new document.Quest finishedReturn to Abraham Washington for a reward


  • If the Lone Wanderer chooses to retrieve the ink from the Arlington Library, after retrieving the forged copy from Button, they will gain access to the saFes and the shortcut back to the ground floor of the National Archives. This shortcut room contains pods for the backup 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.
  • Completing this quest by returning any form of the Declaration of Independence to Abraham Washington, will make Three Dog of Galaxy News Radio make mention of the event in the news ("Huzzah! The time of British oppression is over!)
  • Early in development, the Lone Wanderer 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 National Archives for Washington. In the final game, the only remnants of the documents are terminal entries in the Capital Preservation Society terminal detailing what they contain and his opinions on them, along with his obligatory errors.


  • PCIcon pc.png 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 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. If instead you have the Forged Declaration use player.removeitem 6b192 1.
  • 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 apparently cannot harm it, while 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.