Land of the Brave

Declaration of Independence Facts

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

60 Facts about the Declaration of Independence - Fact File
The following 60 facts about the Declaration of Independence provides interesting facts in the quick, comprehensive format of the Declaration of Independence fact file. The Purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to announce and explain separation from Great Britain. Many of the ideas, idealsand principles contained in the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, the First State Constitutions, the Articles of Confederation, the 1791 US Bill of Rights and in the U.S. Constitution.

Fact 1: The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by the congressional representatives of the 13 Colonies of Colonial America.

Fact 2: The document was signed by 56 delegates to the Continental Congress

Fact 3: The document stated the reasons the 13 American colonies wanted to be free of Great Britain's government.

Fact 4: The Declaration of Independence states that the authority to govern belongs to the people, rather than to kings, that all people are created equal and have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Fact 5: The American colonies had been at war with Great Britain for over a year when the document was signed.

Fact 6: The document recorded the proclamation of the Second Continental Congress asserting the independence of the Colonies from Great Britain.

Fact 7: The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), aka the American War of Independence, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America on April 19, 1775 and ended September 3, 1783. The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) lasted 8 years and 137 days.

Fact 8: The reason for the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence was due to the belief that the Stamp Act of 1765, imposed by Parliament of Great Britain, was unconstitutional.

Fact 9:
American Loyalists rejected the Declaration of Independence. Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain and the king during the American Revolutionary War. Those who supported the American revolution, and the Declaration of Independence, were called Patriots.

Fact 10: About 20% of the American population during the American Revolutionary War were loyalists

Fact 11: When the Congress were declared traitors by royal decree they responded by issuing the Declaration of Independence.

Fact 12: The Declaration of Independence Preamble: John Adams wrote the customary preamble, which stated that King George III had rejected reconciliation and was hiring foreign mercenaries to use against the American colonies.

Fact 13: The Committee of Five appointed by the Second Continental Congress drafted what became known as America's Declaration of Independence. The members of the Committee of Five were:
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
Roger Sherman
Robert Livingston
Benjamin Franklin

Fact 14: On July 4, 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication.

Fact 15: The printer, John Dunlap, was asked to make about 200 copies to be distributed throughout the colonies. Only 26 Dunlap Broadsides have survived.

Fact 16: The signers of the Declaration of Independence did not all sign on the same day.

Fact 17: John Hancock was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. John Hancock was the President of the Continental Congress at the time of the signing.

Fact 18: The other signatures were added on various dates, the last being Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, who signed on November 4, 1776.

Fact 19: Not one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence was born in America.

Fact 20: The first public reading of the signed Declaration of Independence took place on July 8, 1776, in Philadelphia.

Fact 21: 9 of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence died before the American Revolution ended in 1783.

Fact 22: The Declaration of Independence was signed by Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge when they were only 26 years of age.

Fact 23: Benjamin Franklin was 70 years old and the oldest to sign the Declaration of Independence

Fact 24:
Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, was the last man to sign the document on November 4, 1776

Fact 25: Signing the Declaration of Independence was extremely dangerous - a treasonable act, punishable by death

Fact 26: Congress initially kept the names of the men who signed the document secret until January 1777 to protect them from charges of treason

Fact 27: Two future presidents signed the Declaration: John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President).

Fact 28: The original sheet of parchment measured 24¼ by 29¾ inches.

Fact 29: George Washington ordered that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York when it was first printed.

Fact 30: The First Public reading of the Declaration of Independence was in Philadelphia's Independence Square, on July 8 1776

Fact 31: In 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, the population of America is estimated to have been 2.5 million - the population of America is now about 312 million.

Fact 32: During the Revolutionary War, four signers were captured by the British (George Walton, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge). All four were eventually released.

Fact 33: One US President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4

Fact 34: The Declaration is divided into three basic parts:
1. An introduction with a statement of the philosophy.
2. A list of grievances (Complaints)
3. A final and formal "Declaration of Independence."y

Fact 35: A one gun salute for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired at noon on Independence Day by any capable military base.

Fact 36: The most famous extract from the Declaration of Independence is:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Fact 37: The signers names for Massachusetts were:
John Hancock (1737 - 1793)
Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803)
John Adams (1735 - 1826)
Robert Treat Paine (1731 - 1814)
Elbridge Gerry (1744 - 1814)

Fact 38: The signers names for Georgia were:
Button Gwinnett (1735 - 1777)
Lyman Hall (1724 - 1790)
George Walton (1741 - 1804)

Fact 39: The signers names for North Carolina were:
William Hooper (1742 - 1790)
Joseph Hewes (1730 - 1779)
John Penn (1740 - 1788)

Fact 40: The signers names for South Carolina were:
Edward Rutledge (1749 - 1800)
Thomas Heyward, Jr (1746 - 1809)
Thomas Lynch, Jr. (1749 - 1799)
Arthur Middleton (1742 - 1787)

Fact 41: The signers names for Maryland were:
Samuel Chase (1741 - 1811)
William Paca (1740 - 1799)
Thomas Stone (1743 - 1787)
Charles Carroll (1737 - 1832)

Fact 42: The signers names for Virginia were:
George Wythe (1726 - 1806)
Richard Henry Lee (1732 - 1794)
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
Benjamin Harrison (1726 - 1791)
Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1738 - 1789)
Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734 - 1797)
Carter Braxton (1736 - 1797)

Fact 43: The signers names for Pennsylvania were:
Robert Morris (1734 - 1806)
Benjamin Rush (1746 - 1813)
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)
John Morton (1724 - 1777)
George Clymer (1739 - 1813)
James Smith (1719 - 1806)
George Taylor (1716 - 1781)
James Wilson (1742 - 1798)
George Ross (1730 - 1779)

Fact 44: The signers names for Delaware were:
Caesar Rodney (1728 - 1784)
George Read (1733 - 1798)
Thomas McKean (1735 - 1817)

Fact 45: The signers names for New Jersey were:
Richard Stockton (1730 - 1781)
John Witherspoon (1723 - 1794)
Francis Hopkinson (1737 - 1791)
John Hart (1711 - 1779)
Abraham Clark (1726 - 1794)

Fact 46: The signers names for New York were:
William Floyd (1734 - 1821)
Philip Livingston (1716 - 1778)
Francis Lewis (1713 - 1802)
Lewis Morris (1726 - 1798)

Fact 47: The signers names for New Hampshire were:
Josiah Bartlett (1729 - 1795)
William Whipple (1730 - 1785)
Matthew Thornton (1714 - 1803)

Fact 48: The signers names for Rhode Island were:
Stephen Hopkins (1707 - 1785)
William Ellery (1727 - 1820)

Fact 49: The signers names for Connecticut were:
Roger Sherman (1721 - 1793)
Samuel Huntington (1731 - 1796)
William Williams (1731 - 1811)
Oliver Wolcott (1726 - 1797)

Fact 50The most famous version of the Declaration of Independence, is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Fact 51: The Declaration has only left the capital twice. The first time was when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, and the second time was during World War II from late 1941 until the fall of 1944 when it was stored at Fort Knox.

Fact 52: The movie National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage is based on secret written on the back of the original document. There isn't a secret, but there is some writing - a filing reference. It says "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776".

Fact 53: Robert R. Livingston was a member of the Committee of Five, but did not sign the final copy.

Fact 54: Independence Hall was originally called the Pennsylvania State House, but was changed after the signing of the Declaration of Independence when it became Independence Hall

Fact 55: The Liberty Bell: The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading by Colonel John Nixon.

Fact 56: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826, 50 years after the first Independence Day.

Fact 57: The signers of the Declaration of Independence had various occupations: 24 were lawyers, 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and plantation owners

Fact 58: According to legend, Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.

Fact 59: In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a federal legal holiday.

Fact 60: The average age of the Signers of the Declaration was 45

Fact 61: 1 out of 8 signers (7 in total) were educated at Harvard

Fact 62: The Continental Congress made 86 changes to the draft.

Fact 63: The United States didn't exist until after the Declaration of Independence was signed!

Fact 64: Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not rung) 13 times in honor of the original thirteen colonies. 

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