This 4th of July marks the 239th anniversary of America’s independence. Most Americans believe they know all there is to know about this special day in the history of, not just America, but all of mankind.
The reality, however, is that facts tend to get lost throughout time. How well do you know your history?
It’s been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Here are 10 little known facts about the 4th of July and The Declaration of Independence:
- The Declaration of Independence was not signed on the 4th of July, 1776-Congress did adopt The Declaration of Independence on July 4th but it was voted for on July 2nd. The document was not signed until August 2, 1776.
- There are copies of The Declaration of Independence-Hundreds of copies were made of the original document to be sent across the colonies. These copies are referred to as “Dunlop Broadsides.” One Broadside was found inside a $4 picture frame someone purchased at a flea market. In 2001, it sold for $8.1 million.
- There is something written on the back of The Declaration of Independence-In the movie, National Treasure, Nicolas Cage reveals a treasure map on the back of the original document. This is not true. However, there is text written on the back of the document. It says “Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July 1776.” It is written on the bottom and upside down and is believed to be a label as The Declaration was often rolled up and and stored.
- Not one of the signers was born in the United States of America-Yes, this is a trick fact. The reason not one of the signers was born in The United States of America is because The United States did not exist until after the document was signed.
- 8 of the 56 signers of The Declaration of Independence were born in Britain-The majority of the the signers of The Declaration of Independence were native-born Americans, however, eight were born in Britain.
- One signer later swore allegiance to King George III.-Richard Stockton was captured by the British and after spending months in jail, he recanted his signature and support of The Declaration of Independence. In 1777, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey.
- There is a wide age difference between the oldest and youngest signers of The Declaration of Independence-The oldest signer of The Declaration was Benjamin Franklin who was 70 when he signed it. The two youngest signers of the document were Thomas Lynch, Jr. and and Edward Rutledge who were 26 at the time.
- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4th, 1826-On the 50th anniversary of the date of the adoption of The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away.
- The 4th of July was not declared a holiday until nearly 100 years after The Declaration of Independence was signed-In 1870, congress declared July 4th a national holiday along with other holidays including Christmas.
- Fireworks have been used to celebrate this day since it’s first anniversary-Both Boston and Philadelphia used fireworks in 1777 to celebrate this day but it wasn’t until the 1830’s the chemists figured out how to add color to the fireworks.