America has a rich and complex history as a nation. As a proud American, it's important to know some basics regarding the history of your country! The Declaration of Independence is a scared document that has helped shaped our nation throughout history and is still a guiding principle today. Let's take a look at a few important facts about the Declaration of Independence every proud American should know.
The Big Five
When the nation was fighting for its independence from Britain, leaders of the movement felt they needed an official document to send a message to King George loud and clear. The Continental Congress assembled a team of five important figures in the movement and asked them to draft an official document for this purpose which would not only send a message to Britain but would also serve as a blueprint for the new nation. The assembly of five was made up of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.
Thomas Jefferson Wrote It
One of the less known facts about the Declaration of Independence is which of the Big Five actually wrote it. While many people believe that all five wrote the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson was the sole author of the first draft. He consulted with all the other four members tasked with crafting the message of the document, but he wrote it by himself when the other men unanimously named him for the task. Jefferson was an eloquent and well-known voice of the movement and was a skilled orator, so he was the natural choice. He wrote a draft of the Declaration, convened with Franklin and Adams, implemented their suggestions, and that was the draft sent to Congress to be ratified. The version that was eventually adopted by Congress underwent other changes, and you can actually see a handwritten rough draft of the original written by Jefferson with changes made by Franklin and Adam's notes alongside Jefferson's additional notes of the changes made by Congress if you visit the Library of Congress.
The Declaration Sign Date
When looking at facts about the Declaration of Independence, history gave us the wrong sign date which was recently uncovered by historians. While the original document with some revisions was accepted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776 which started the tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July as the patriotic holiday we know today, it wasn't a signed document yet and some reports claim it wasn't actually signed until as late as August 2, 1776. This is because the 56 signatures on the document was formed of delegates from the different colonies and there was still dispute amongst the colonies. In fact, one of the Big Five, Robert R. Livingston, refused to sign the document at all because he still felt the guidelines listed within were incomplete to form a solid nation.