10 Interesting Facts on the Declaration of Independence
Explore and learn 10 interesting facts you might not have known about our nation’s most historic document. This honorable text, The Declaration of Independence, was first drafted by Thomas Jefferson and later perfected with help of other Founding Fathers. It was read across the American colonies on July 4th, 1776, proclaiming freedom from British Rule, and formalizing principles from which our nation’s foundation is now built upon. God Bless America. Enjoy the following 10 facts.
1) John Adams Felt July 2nd Would Have Been Independence Day
The official vote for Independence actually occurred on July 2nd, 1776, and John Adams is known to have written to his wife, “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable day in the history of America”, thinking the new America would hold celebration on that date. However, the 4th of July became the celebrated date instead. This is the day the finished document, Declaration of Independence, was approved, and was sent out across the lands to announce the country’s freedom.
The Declaration of Independence was initially printed and distributed as an unsigned document (only a printed ‘signed by John Hancock’ was shown on the first copies). Around 200 copies, called the Dunlap Broadsides, were published and circulated across the new-found nation on July 4th, 1776. These were not hand signed, but were dispersed for reading in all major communities of the time. Of these first Declaration Broadsides, only 26, have known whereabouts. One found as recently as 2009. For more information on these treasures (maybe you can find one!), read: The Dunlap Broadsides Lost Treasures.
3)The Word ‘Unanimous’ Was Added Later to the Declaration of Independence
The word ‘unanimous’ was inserted into the Declaration of Independence after the release of the initial Dunlap Broadsides. A decision on July 19th, 1776, resulted in this change of wording to be applied to the final official engrossed copy of the Declaration which is currently on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
4)’We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident’ is One of the Most Memorable Lines in History
The most memorable line of the Declaration of Independence, and believed to be of any American document is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
5) A Total of 56 Delegates from the Continental Congress Signed the Declaration
There were 56 Signatures, from delegates from each of the 13 colonies, which signed the Declaration of Independence. They did not sign until August 2nd, 1776, and even then, not all at once. Those who signed the Declaration were not even made public until 1777, for there was fear of punishments from British Rule. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest person to sign the Declaration at age 70. The youngest, Edward Rutledge, was only 26 years of age.
6) There is Writing on the Back of the Declaration of Independence
Although not hidden or leading to a secret treasure, like as romanticized in the fun movie, National Treasure, there is writing on the back of the ‘official Declaration’. It is believed the notation, “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th of July 1776” was written during one of the relocations (for safety reasons) of the document.
7)The Declaration of Independence is Involved in a Real-Life Treasure Story Called the Beale Treasure
In 1885, a small pamphlet was published in Virginia which consisted of a story about hidden treasure. The pamphlet included 3 coded papers, which once solved, would lead a reader to the exact location of a buried hoard of treasure. These papers are known as the Beale Papers. One of these coded texts were deciphered by using the Declaration of Independence. The other two, one of which is claimed to hold directions to the precise spot of buried treasure, remain unbroken. The Beale Treasure today continues to be sought for. Is there a treasure to find? Read more here: The Beale Treasure.
8)The Declaration of Independence has been Hidden a Few Times
Although kept safe at the Nation’s Capital today, the Declaration of Independence had to be moved a few times in the past in order to stay free from possible harm. In 1814, it is said to have been hidden in a Virginia Gristmill for protection, and then another time it was moved during the burning of the White House. Lastly, it was hidden at Fort Knox during World War II.
9)The Declaration of Independence Inspired other Countries’ Declarations
Although America celebrated it’s freedom, the document (The Declaration of Independence) which was used to announce this gained freedom attracted little attention at first. It was only later, when Abraham Lincoln, brought much admiration for the text did it grow to be revered.
Even so, America’s Declaration did inspire many other countries’ written documents and progress. It’s believed it heavily influenced France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), as well as Venezuelan (1811), Liberian (1847), and Vietnamese (1945) Declarations, to name a few. It is known the words of America’s Declaration are often repeated and are used within numerous other nation’s historic texts to establish sound and admirable principles.
10)The Liberty Bell is Part of July 4th’s Celebrations Today
The Liberty Bell is often thought to have been rung on July 4th, 1776 with the reading of the Declaration. However, this is probably not true as mentioned in MW’s 10 Interesting Facts on the Liberty Bell recent post. It’s believed the bell tower was not in good enough condition to use and the Liberty Bell was in storage at the time. Nonetheless, currently, every July 4th, the Liberty Bell is tapped 13 times representing the original 13 colonies, and in honor of this prized day. (It’s tapped and not rung because of the crack and causing more damage)
Hope you enjoyed reading 10 facts about our nation’s founding document!
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