70 Facts About The Declaration of Independence

Facts About The Declaration of Independence: The United States Declaration of Independence was a resolution passed at the Second National Assembly in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Thus the thirteen American colonies at war with the Great British Kingdom declared themselves thirteen independent sovereign states and not subject to British rule.

These created a new nation called the United States. John Adams in advancing this Played a major role. The resolution was passed unopposed on July 2. One of the five-member panel had already drawn up a formal statement to announce after the Assembly passed the resolution approving the release. The phrase "declaration of liberation" is not used in this statement.

70 Facts About The Declaration of Independence

Interesting Facts About The Declaration of Independence

  • The Continental Congress made 86 changes to the draft.
  • One US President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4.
  • The average age of the Signers of the Declaration was 45.
  • The original sheet of parchment measured 24¼ by 29¾ inches.
  • In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a federal legal holiday.
  • The document was signed by 56 delegates to the Continental Congress
  • The signers of the Declaration of Independence did not all sign on the same day.
  • Not one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence was born in America.
  • The United States didn't exist until after the Declaration of Independence was signed!
  • About 20% of the American population during the American Revolutionary War were loyalists
  • Benjamin Franklin was 70 years old and the oldest to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  • Robert R. Livingston was a member of the Committee of Five, but did not sign the final copy.
  • Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, was the last man to sign the document on November 4, 1776.
  • The American colonies had been at war with Great Britain for over a year when the document was signed.
  • The document stated the reasons the 13 American colonies wanted to be free of Great Britain's government.
  • Signing the Declaration of Independence was extremely dangerous - a treasonable act, punishable by death.
  • 9 of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence died before the American Revolution ended in 1783.
  • The first public reading of the signed Declaration of Independence took place on July 8, 1776, in Philadelphia.
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826, 50 years after the first Independence Day.

Information About The Declaration of Independence

  • When the Congress were declared traitors by royal decree they responded by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • Two future presidents signed the Declaration: John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President).
  • On July 4, 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication.
  • The most famous version of the Declaration of Independence, is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
  • The First Public reading of the Declaration of Independence was in Philadelphia's Independence Square, on July 8 1776.
  • The Declaration of Independence was signed by Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge when they were only 26 years of age.
  • Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not rung) 13 times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
  • According to legend, Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
  • The other signatures were added on various dates, the last being Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, who signed on November 4, 1776.
  • George Washington ordered that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York when it was first printed.
  • Congress initially kept the names of the men who signed the document secret until January 1777 to protect them from charges of treason.
  • The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by the congressional representatives of the 13 Colonies of Colonial America.
  • The document recorded the proclamation of the Second Continental Congress asserting the independence of the Colonies from Great Britain.
  • The printer, John Dunlap, was asked to make about 200 copies to be distributed throughout the colonies. Only 26 Dunlap Broadsides have survived.
  • The signers of the Declaration of Independence had various occupations: 24 were lawyers, 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and plantation owners.
  • A one gun salute for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired at noon on Independence Day by any capable military base.

60 Facts About The Declaration of Independence

  • Independence Hall was originally called the Pennsylvania State House, but was changed after the signing of the Declaration of Independence when it became Independence Hall.
  • John Hancock was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. John Hancock was the President of the Continental Congress at the time of the signing.
  • In 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, the population of America is estimated to have been 2.5 million - the population of America is now about 312 million.
  • The Liberty Bell: The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading by Colonel John Nixon.
  • During the Revolutionary War, four signers were captured by the British (George Walton, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge). All four were eventually released.
  • The reason for the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence was due to the belief that the Stamp Act of 1765, imposed by Parliament of Great Britain, was unconstitutional.
  • The Declaration of Independence states that the authority to govern belongs to the people, rather than to kings, that all people are created equal and have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • The Declaration of Independence Preamble: John Adams wrote the customary preamble, which stated that King George III had rejected reconciliation and was hiring foreign mercenaries to use against the American colonies.
  • The Declaration has only left the capital twice. The first time was when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, and the second time was during World War II from late 1941 until the fall of 1944 when it was stored at Fort Knox.
  • The movie National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage is based on secret written on the back of the original document. There isn't a secret, but there is some writing - a filing reference. It says "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776".
  • The Committee of Five appointed by the Second Continental Congress drafted what became known as America's Declaration of Independence. The members of the Committee of Five were: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin.

How Many People Signed The Declaration Of Independence

  • The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), aka the American War of Independence, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America on April 19, 1775 and ended September 3, 1783. The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) lasted 8 years and 137 days.
  • American Loyalists rejected the Declaration of Independence. Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain and the king during the American Revolutionary War. Those who supported the American revolution, and the Declaration of Independence, were called Patriots.
  • Between 1776 and 1783, when the states achieved independence, nine of the signers died — some in bizarre circumstances. Button Gwinnett of Georgia, died in a duel over conduct in a battle. And 26-year-old Thomas Lynch Jr., who was one of the two youngest to sign, drowned in a storm on his way to France.
  • Unfortunately for National Treasure fans, it’s not an invisible treasure map. Written upside down on the back of the document reads: “Original Declaration of Independence dates 4th July 1776.” It’s believed this text was added as a label, as parchment was oftentimes rolled up for transport during the Revolutionary War.
  • When the Lee Resolution was brought again before the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, twelve colonies adopted it with New York abstaining. On July 4, only nine colonies voted in favor of adopting the Declaration of Independence. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No, Delaware was Undecided and New York Abstained.
  • As the declaration was being read to the Continental Army troops on July 9, they were on the verge of being routed by the British Army. The troops and their faithful had just enough time to tear down the two-ton statue of George III in New York and send it up the East River to Connecticut, where its pieces were melted into musket balls.
  • There were 442 days between the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” fired at Lexington and Concord to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The majority of colonists viewed themselves as British subjects. In fact, when fighting broke out in Massachusetts in April 1775, it was considered a civil dispute. The thought of separation was seen as a radical notion.
  • In early 1776, there seemed to be no end to the war and little hope for reconciliation with England. So a number of localities and colonies produced their own statements about independence. The authors were judges, politicians, even laborers. Turns out, the sentiments in the official Declaration of Independence are very similar to the declarations at the local levels.
  • With no FedEx available, the document stayed in Philadelphia until each of the 56 delegates could eventually travel there by horse. It would take six months for all the signatures to be compiled. Thomas McKean of Delaware was the last person to sign, possibly as late as 1777 (the actual date is disputed), though some copies of the declaration do not have McKean’s name on them.
  • We recognize July 4 as the Declaration of Independence’s data because it’s the day it was adopted. However, the actual vote for independence occurred on July 2, 1776. President Adams would not recognize the fourth as a result and refused invitations to July 4th celebrations. Coincidentally, both he and President Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
  • While the Declaration of Independence was adopted and finalized on July 4, 1776, the majority of the other signers actually signed it on August 2, 1776. One reason is that it took nearly two weeks after it was endorsed for the document to be “engrossed” (written on parchment in clear handwriting). Another reason it took so long to be signed is that New York’s delegates didn’t receive authorization to sign until July 9, 1776.
  • Richard Henry Lee proposed the Lee Resolution to the Second Continental Congress on June 7, 1776, and they were seconded by John Adams. It was the earliest form of a declaration of independence. In them, Lee famously declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States.” After many heated debates, Congress delayed the vote for approval of the Lee Resolution and decided to reconvene on July 1, 1776.
  • The British had George Washington’s troops trapped in New York City — almost. Washington found an escape route, crossed the Delaware River and regrouped before going back on the offensive. Had the British been more aggressive and cut off Washington in Manhattan, the war could have been lost, the Declaration of Independence would have been nothing but evidence of treason — and there’s no telling what kind of history we’d be talking about today.
  • Two 26-year-olds from South Carolina were the youngest to sign the Declaration of Independence (Thomas Lynch Jr., and Edward Rutledge). Benjamin Franklin, 70, was the oldest. Eight of the men were born in the British Isles. They were lawyers, of course, but also businessmen, farmers, teachers, and a minister (John Witherspoon of New Jersey). Two signers were inventors of similarly named musical instruments that never caught on (Francis Hopkinson with the Bellarmonic, and Benjamin Franklin with the glass armonica).
  • None of the men who signed the Declaration were Americans, though most of them were born in Colonies. They were all technically British citizens at the time they signed the document. Eight of the signers were born in Britain. Richard Stockton was the only signer to recant his signature after he was captured by British soldiers a few months later. The last person to sign was Matthew Thornton, who signed it on November 4, 1776. Robert Livingston, one of the Committee of Five members, never signed it, stating it was too soon to declare independence from Britain.
  • Thomas Jefferson presented a draft of what would become the Declaration of Independence in the days before July 4, 1776. The full Congress debated, revised and edited the document on July 2 and July 3. By July 4, they ratified the wording. But the formal copy of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially finalized until two weeks later and it wasn’t signed until August 2. John Trumbull’s famous painting of Jefferson, John Hancock, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Roger Sherman does not depict the signing — it is them presenting the draft on June 28, 1776.
  • Many people know the Declaration was written, but most people never question or understand exactly why there was a need for a formal document. The answer is simple yet complex. If the colonies wanted foreign allies to aid them in separation, they first had to legally declare themselves independent of Britain. It was vital that each of the 13 colonies come together as a single body. A colony by itself wouldn’t be taken seriously by a world power like France, but the Thirteen together as one nation would. This was groundbreaking at the time, as each colony viewed itself as a singular entity, much like the countries of Europe.

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