Facts About The Declaration
I’m a bit of a history buff. And, of course, on July 4, Americans
celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The
Declaration was officially adopted by the Continental Congress in
Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, although Congress formally declared
independence from Great Britain on July 2, and the Declaration
wasn’t signed by all 56 members until August.
I’ve gathered some other facts about this founding document of the
United States that you may not know:
• There’s a message on the back. No, it’s not an invisible treasure
map (as in National Treasure). The words “Original Declaration of
Independence, dated 4th July 1776” appear on the reverse side of
the document on display in the National Rotunda, at the bottom and
• About 200 copies of the Declaration were immediately
produced by printer John Dunlap for distribution through the 13
colonies. Of these original “Dunlap broadsides,” 26 still exist.
• The original document wasn’t printed on paper, but
“engrossed” on parchment. Engrossing is a process for preparing an
official document in large, clear handwriting.
• At the bottom left corner of the Declaration is an unidentified
handprint. Historians speculate that it’s the result of the
document’s being rolled up for transport and handled by various
people for extensive exhibition in the early years of its existence.
• The two youngest signers of the Declaration were Thomas Lynch
Jr. and Edward Rutledge, both of South Carolina, both 26 years old
at the time. The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70. Nine of
the original signers died before the American Revolution
ended in 1783.