5 Interesting Facts About the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is celebrated each year on July 4. It’s a prized historic document that laid the framework for our nation and secured our independence from Britain. But there may be some things you don’t know about the Declaration of Independence.
Here are five interesting facts about this treasured American document:
1. July 2, 1776 Was Actually Independence Day
It was July 2, 1776, not July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress announced its freedom from Britain. On this day, the resolution was approved, and New York delegates made a unanimous vote. Many people still believe that July 4 was the actual day of independence.
The confusion likely comes from the series of events that took place up to the actual signing of the document. The first Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2 and the declaration was officially drafted two days later, on July 4. So, technically, the Fourth of July is the most accurate date to celebrate independence, even though it was technically official two days earlier.
2. The Declaration of Independence Was Adopted July 4
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It took a couple days for the Continental Congress to finalize the document. After the edits were reviewed and approved, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Interestingly enough, many people across the colonies didn’t actually know the document was drafted until days later. News didn’t travel as fast back then as it does today! For some colonies, news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence didn’t reach them until as late as July 6 or 7. Nevertheless, the date was firmly solidified as July 4.
3. The Document Wasn’t Signed on July 4
Even though America celebrates the Declaration of Independence on July 4, this wasn’t the date it was signed. First, the document had to go to the printer to have copies made and then most participants had signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia by August 1776. It wasn’t until early 1777 that the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were publicized.
This long stretch of time was primarily due to the formalities of drafting such a significant document. Moreover, the delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence lived scattered across the colonies. They didn’t always have the means or the time to travel, especially to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
4. Six People Signed Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence and the 39 who signed the United States Constitution, only six individuals signed both. These signers included Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, George Read, James Wilson, Robert Morris, and George Clymer.
5. The Declaration of Independence Wasn’t Truly Celebrated Until Post-1812
You might think the Declaration of Independence, due to its importance, would be celebrated by the American people right away, but this isn’t so. The Federalists and the Republicans didn’t agree about the Declaration of Independence and its signing. Due to the discord between the two groups, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t publicly celebrated until after 1812, when the Federalist group broke apart and left the political scene.
Celebrating the History of our Independence
The Declaration of Independence today is a widely celebrated document with strong historical importance. And July 4 is a day for Americans to celebrate, embrace their patriotic spirit, and honor this country. It represents the first powerful step in our break from England into our own sovereign nation: one ruled by the people, for the people.
This Independence Day, we encourage everyone to look up a copy of the Declaration of Independence online and read it. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes. The words are powerful and articulate, and they’re words every free American deserves to read and know. They are, after all, the reason we live in the country we do today!
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