Unusual Facts About the Declaration of Independence
Remember the Declaration of Independence? You know, the whole reason we have a Fourth of July holiday and a free country? Here are some things you may not know about this important piece of paper.
• The first draft of the Declaration of Independence was originally titled 'A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled'.
• The Declaration was ready by the 28th of June, 1776, then underwent changes and debates until the 4th of July.
• It was signed only by John Hancock, the then President of the Continental Congress, on the 4th of July, 1776. It was signed by the other 54 delegates on the 2nd of August, 1776.
• The Declaration of Independence, the most monumental document in American history, was written in less than three weeks.
• When first put to vote, on the 1st of July, two states, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, voted against the Declaration. They revoked this vote on the very next day of voting, 2nd of July.
• The reason behind Thomas Jefferson being chosen to draft the Declaration was that he came from Virginia, a place that had not been branded as rebellious by the British. The other members of the Committee of Five came from unfavorable backgrounds and did not have the gift and talent of writing that Jefferson had.
• Not all Congress members signed the Declaration of Independence. John Dickinson, who was considered the 'Last of the Moderates' did not sign it. The reason that he gave the Congress was that he still saw some hope in reconciling with the British.
• The original copy of the Declaration of Independence states that we have INalienable rights, but later versions say that we have UNalienable rights. Both mean the same, but the reason and time when the word was changed is unclear.
• For all those who watched the movie National Treasure and believe that the back of the Declaration indeed has an invisible treasure map, sorry to burst your bubble. There is something written on the back, but it is not invisible. It just says "Original Declaration of Independence/dated 4th July 1776."
• The youngest person to sign the document was Edward Rutledge, 26. The oldest person to sign it was Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 at the time.
• When the Declaration was approved, only 24 copies were made and distributed. A person at a flea market found one of the copies in a painting that he purchased for $4. He got it authenticated and sold it an auction for a whopping $8.14 million in 2000.