Nine Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4th. Even though 12 of 13 states ratified the Declaration on the Fourth, it could not be formally approved until the New York representatives voted to authorize it’s delegation to give their approval until a week later. There was another delay caused by the need for an engrossed copy (Written on good parchment in clear handwriting) of the Declaration. It was signed on August 2nd.
There are more than 1 copy of the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress had a printer by the name of John Dunlap make what is believed to be 200 copies on July 5th, making the Dunlap broadsides even older than the signed Declaration itself. Only 26 copies are now known to still exist.
When the Declaration was sent to New York City, it started a riot. There were British ships in the harbor and the idea of freedom excited the patriots and a clash was inevitable.
Eight of the signers were born in England. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.
One signer later recanted. A lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, Richard Stockton signed the Declaration, but was later captured and eventually the rough treatment he was given forced him to repudiate his signature and he pledged his loyalty to King George. After the war, he had to sign a loyalty pledge to the fledgling United States.
There was a 44 year age gap between the oldest signer and the youngest one. Ben Franklin was 70 years old at the time and a lawyer from South Carolina, Edward Rutledge was just 26.
Two of the 26 known copies of the Declaration now known to be in existence were found within the past 25 years.
The Declaration was placed into Ft Knox during WWII. To keep them safe after Pearl Harbor, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were taken out of Washington and stored in Ft Knox for safekeeping.
There really is something on the back of the Declaration. The Declaration was often rolled up when it was being tansported, so to prevent unrolling it every time to see what it was, this is written on the back, “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” as an identifier.