Declaration of Independence

On July 4th, the United States of America celebrates Independence Day. One of the artifacts most commonly associated with Independence Day is the Declaration of Independence. So to help you celebrate this national holiday, we though it would be fun to share some fun facts about the document.

  • The Declaration of Independence was drafted between June 11 and June 28, 1776 by Thomas Jeffersondeclaration_of_independence_stone_630
  • The clearest call for independence came from Richard Henry Lee of Virginia at the Continental Congress on June 7, 1776
  • On July 2, 1776, Lee’s resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies (New York did not vote)
  • Discussion about the Declaration of Independence began immediately after the Lee Resolution was adopted but it was officially adopted until the early morning of July 4, 1776
  • Five distinct parts make up the Declaration of Independence: the introduction, the preamble, the body (which is divided into two sections), and the conclusion
  • John Hancock was the first to sign the document
  • The Declaration of Independence parchment measures 24 1/4 by 39 3/4 inches
  • Signatures are arranged according to the geographic location of the states they represented
  • The Declaration of Independence was first signed on August 2, 1776 according to the journal of the Continental Congress
  • The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is the permanent home of the original Declaration of Independence
  • There are 26 known copies of the Declaration of Independence known as “the Dunlap broadside” that were printed on paper on July 4, 1776
  • A handprint appears on the bottom left corner of the Declaration of Independence. The origins and circumstances of the handprint are not known.
  • There is writing on the back of the Declaration of Independence that reads, “Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July 1776,” and it appears on the bottom of the document, upside down.

Sources:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/treasure/declaration_facts.html

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_history.html

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