Declaration of Independence: Interesting Facts

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.

2.5 million: In July 1776, estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.

318.4 million: July 2014, estimated number of people living in the USA.

There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence, but it isn't a secret map or code as portrayed in the movie “National Treasure” starring Nicolas Cage. Instead, there are a few handwritten words that say "Original Declaration of Independence/ dated 4th July 1776". No one knows who wrote this, but it is assumed it was added as a label to indicate the type of document when rolled up for storage.

Once the Declaration of Independence had been written and signed, a printer named John Dunlap was asked to make about 200 copies to be distributed throughout the colonies. Today, the “Dunlap Broadsides” are extremely rare and valuable.

In 1989, a Philadelphia financial analyst bought an old painting for $4 at a flea market in Pennsylvania, mostly because he liked the frame. The buyer was investigating a tear in the canvas when he discovered a rare and valuable document tucked away between the canvas and its wood backing - an old copy of the Declaration of Independence. This rare document was sold by Sotheby’s on June 4, 1991 for $2.42 million.

One of the most widely held misconceptions about the Declaration of Independence is that it was signed on July 4, 1776. In actuality, independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776. On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776.

On December 13, 1952, the Declaration of Independence (along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights) was formally delivered to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it has remained since then.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the vote to approve the Declaration of Independence.

The only signer of the Declaration of Independence to survive beyond the 50th anniversary of the signing was Charles Carroll of Maryland. He died in 1832 when he was 95 years old.

No one who signed the Declaration of Independence was born in the United States of America. The United States didn't exist until after the Declaration was signed! However, all but eight of the signers were born in colonies that would become the United States.

The first public reading of the Declaration took place on July 8, 1776, in Philadelphia. A fictional story written in the 1840s suggested that the bell now known as the Liberty Bell was rung that day to bring the people together. However, today that story has much doubt.

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