5 Obscure Facts About the Declaration of Independence.


John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence [wiki] | Key to Painting [Flash]

1. There Was No "United States" in the Declaration of Independence.

When the Founding Fathers adopted "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America" [wiki] on July 4, 1776, they didn't form the nation called The United States of America.

Indeed, the United States of America actually came into being on March 1, 1781 when the Second Continental Congress ratified the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (or more commonly known as the Article of Confederation [wiki]).

2. Jefferson Was Upset that Slavery was Edited out.

In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson [wiki] listed the British crown's support and importation of slavery to the colonies as one of the grievances:

"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither."

The passage, however, was edited out by request of the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia. Jefferson (himself a slave owner!) remained upset about this removal of the condemnation of slavery until his death.

3. The Youngest and Oldest Signers

The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge [wiki] of Southern Carolina. He was 26. Actually that wasn't the only interesting thing: Rutledge argued for the deletion of Jefferson's condemnation of slavery (see above). He was also initially opposed to independence, but signed the Declaration for the sake of unanimity.

The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin [wiki], who was 70 at the time. At the signing, Franklin famously said "We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

4. The Sole Recanter: Richard Stockton

During the course of the Revolutionary War, four signers were captured by the British (George Walton, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge) while fighting. Although they were treated harshly, all four were eventually released.

Only one guy, Richard Stockton [wiki] of New Jersey, was captured in the middle of the night and taken prisoner specifically because he was a signer of the Declaration. Stockton also had the singular misfortune of being the only recanter of the oath to support the Declaration of Independence with "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Under duress of harsh British confinement, Stockton recanted his signature on the Declaration and declared his allegiance to the King George III before he was released. (Source: American Heritage).

Stockton's ordeal didn't end there: his estate was taken by the British army during his absence, and all of his household belongings were taken or destroyed. The imprisonment not only broke Stockton's mind and spirit, but also ruined his health - it took him years to fully recuperate. Before he died, Stockton re-affirmed his oath of allegiance to the United States.

5. Bargain Hunter Bought an Old Copy of the Declaration of Independence for $4, Sold It For Millions!

In 1989, a bargain hunter who bought an old and torn painting for $4 at a flea market found an old copy of the Declaration of Independence tucked away between the canvas and the frame!


A copy of the Dunlap Broadside, now at Yale University.

It turned out to be one of the 200 official copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, called the Dunlap Broadsides [wiki]. Before this discovery, only 24 copies were known to exist.

The lucky bargain hunter sold his copy of the Declaration at an auction for $8.14 million!


GOD DAMMIT... The name of the holiday is NOT "Fourth of July," it's INDEPENDENCE DAY. Today we are to celebrate our INDEPENDENCE from the British, not the fact that it is the fourth day of the month of July.
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Why is it wrong?

The day itself signifies the signing of the Declaration of Independance. Do you say "Happy 2nd September everyone!"? No. The 4th of July is famous BECAUSE of the signing, therefore it is perfectly acceptable to wish everyone a happy 4th of July, because everyone should be happy on the day the declaration was signed.
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Here is another interesting fact - the picture at the top of this page is popular but incorrect. The document was not signed with all the signatories just standing around. It was signed seperately in different locations at different times.
Either way, one of the best ideas to come out of this country
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IMO Americans would be better served if the "Independence Day" moniker was dropped.

Right or wrong, many, many people around the globe view America as a country obsessed with military power and war; a country on a holy mission to crush it's (perceived) enemies around the world.

Reminding everyone each year, that on July the 4th America was "born in violence," and that they still worship that "up yours" kind of spirit, seems like a very *bad* idea to me. ;-)
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HAY guyz ima gunna drink a lot of beer! Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy ya know? hay look im on dis page...weird huh. Why you guyz talkn bout me. peace out fools
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Hey, it's July 4 for you folks!

Happy whatever you want to call it. Your country is grand and I enjoy your media and general spirit.

Now please get rid of the cadre of lunatics in your uppermost echelons of Government.
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Obscure? Anyone who has seen the play or movie "1776" will know items 2 and 3. The ages of Rutledge and Franklin are the basis for a joke early on; the slavery passage and the effects of Rutledge's opposition to it are critical plot points in the last third of the story.
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I think we should remember that we were a country born in revolution by tearing ourselves away from those who oppressed us. We also tore ourselves away from old ideas of monarchy and (to lesser extent) the privilege of birth.

We are also one of a handful of countries where we can have a radical shift of power without spilling blood.

This is a far from perfect nation...but this liberal would rather live here than anywhere else.
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Point one is actually incorrect. Check out the images of Jefferson's original rough draft of the Declaration at http://www.princeton.edu/~tjpapers/declaration/declaration.html -- look at the top of the first page. In the very first line, Jefferson wrote "A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled" -- with precisely that capitalization. He clearly intended that this would be the usage from the first.
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Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death.

PATRICK HENRY - 1775

Excerpts of speech made before the Virginia House of Burgesses
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Hey if you wanna see what this country was TRULY AND HONESTLY BASED UPON, as well as a little insight into it's future, go to http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/awaken/index.htm it's kinda lengthy but is perfect and everything he says is true. I myself looked up the facts he presented and the evidence is astounding. THE TRUTH IS HERE. Have an open mind and be ready.
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Declaration of Independance, my ass. You people have not been independant for the last 300 years. Your always a slave to someone, especially now that the media controls what you hear(and remember the media is controlled by the government) Besides which, how many of you have actually read and understood the DOI? I bet if you did, things would change, but your mostly just sheople anyway. Go watch your tv and be brainwashed. Or open your eyes to the atrocities that are being committed by the highest members of your government.
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@Jeremy
Sounds like you are a little jealous... But anyway you look at it, we are here with our liberty and you are obviously willing to live with out it and all of the other basic human rights that go with independence. Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone fights agains suppression, even Americans, on a daily basis. So, you either pull you head out of your ass and see the world as it is or you don't. But to each their own I guess.
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Happy Independence Day! And God Bless America!

(Even if you personally don't like God, you can still admit this country sure would prosper with a few more blessings from the Almighty!)
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Independence huh?!? Revolution eh? Just because your founding fathers disagreed with British rule and fought to change it doesn't make it 'right' - it actually made those that fought against the British (in the true sense of the word) TERRORISTS!.

Somewhat ironic ;o)

Being Scottish I can understand the US founding fathers sentiments for revolution and independence, but we were a lot closer to England geographically and had less people to fight with - oh yeah - and the Scottish clan leaders (not all, but enough) also sold out the people to the English, creating 'terrorists' out of guys who thought that was wrong, like Robert the Bruce and Ian Wallace et al.
We win though - there's a Scottish Prime Minister now lol!
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well, Independence Day/The Fourth of July may kinda suck, but at least it's a legit holiday...none of that epistemologically bastardized pagan holiday bullshit nor the day of frenzied embryo searching and adulation of anthropomorphic lagomorphs and zombified corpses nor Hallmark Day or Native American Genocide Day. After All Hallow's Eve and Get Drunk Day, Independence Day is our best holiday, IMHO. Also fuck flag day labor day earth day and all saint's day. MLK day, Boxing Day and Love Day are all OK with me, though.
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@coreyb:

You're kidding, right?

If you _actually_ believe you have something approaching "liberty" left in the USA, then you are yet another blinkered idiot swallowing the BushCo bullshit exactly as intended, and are part of the increasing problem.

Extraordinary rendition. Habeus corpus. Domestic detention centres being built. Et cetera.

Educate yourself, or shut up.
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@Sir Robyn Blaber:

You must not be paying attention. Half the country are socialists, a little less than half are fascists, the remainder are some combination of libertarians and communists.

But, then, you're one to talk. Your sn would suggest British nationality, am I correct? Then you just can't remember your own Empire, which, if I remember correctly, you're still proud of (when you think about it). You still give lip service to a monarch. A constitutional figurehead monarch, but a monarch no less.

@Canada:

We're not the only ones. Free healthcare, right? Provided you keep the government happy and don't do anything out of the ordinary, yes. Your government owns you no less than ours owns us.

What I don't understand is how you don't like it when Americans stereotype Brits, Canadians, and Europeans in general (yes, I know Canada is most of North America, but you have the same mindset), but love to make the same kinds of stereotypes when dealing with Americans.

@Tom:

I'll get right on that. It may take a while, though.
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One most curious fact is missing from this list. It's inspired by a similar dutch work, see http://www.news.wisc.edu/3049 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence
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The Country of my Heart

Got to work late on the 5th of July
After a sleepless night of explosions and gunfire.
It took about an hour to clean up the broken glass.
Someone put a bullet through my old car.
Probably a thoughtless teen taking advantage
Of the noisy night to fulfill the desire
To shoot something, anything.
Annoying, but it didn’t make me mad.

My heart, the part of me that counts,
Doesn’t live in a country like that.
People in the country of my heart
Don’t feel like shooting anything.
They feel like looking you in the eye
Long and deep, and holding you close,
Hugging you with their arms.

I do have guns, and I know how to use them.
I would use them to protect you
But not for a thrill
I have heard enough gunfire
And I’ve seen enough of what follows it.
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@Jeremy:

If you're currently residing in the US, please feel free - in fact encouraged - to get the F**K out! In point of fact you should be eternally grateful for the liberties you possess since one of them is the "right" to spout whatever seditious tripe you feel like w/o fear of government reprisal.
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the independence day is not a joke people so dont joke about it, we did this for a reason, to mot fight like this. Trust me, I am a perfessional.
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Hey I need to know who created this. I'm doing a report and I want ot use this web site but I can't because I can't find the Authors name for my BIBLIOGRAPHY!!!

THANKS BYE!!!!!!!!
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It is our Independence Day...call it 4th of July if you wish...go find a military man or woman and thank them for keeping you FREE today!

Even you stinkin' liberals need to do that!

Have a awesome day and God Bless America...
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Reading the signatories of the Independence Declaration It seems to me they are of British descent. I view the battle for independence as the British fighting the British on what was to become American soil. From tribesmen to clansmen wars have been fought and lands won by aquisition. Ask the Irish, the Scots, the Indians, American indians, Africans, Mexicans, the English,any nation in the world! There is no UNgreat nation...celebrate our commonality. If things don't change, they'll stay as they are!
Happy 4th!
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Very obscure fact number six: Jefferson did not actually write the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Paine was the true author, but having only arrived 2 years earler from England, he had no credibility, and Jefferson agreed to rewrite the document and submit it. This was demonstrated by several 20th Century scholars. Just google it.
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Bob Sagot!! u broskies r so messed up
no bro cares about what the day is called
just relax, listen to "beer is good"
chill wit ur girl, look at de sky, de world is a wonderful place, laugh all day, hit on girls at the
fire work show its all good!!!
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This is to the person who made the second comment and anyone else who cares to do a little research before speaking. We as a nation celebrate July 4th. July 4th is not our actual independence day from the British. On July 2nd the continental congress legally voted to approve a Resolution of Independence. John Adams even wrote his wife and said "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival." As for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, most delegates of the continental congress didn't even sign it till August 2nd 1776 and some reportedly didn't sign it for another 5 years.
If you want to celebrate the day the British finally stopped fighting, admitted that the colonies had won and signed the Treaty of Paris (which formally ended the war on all sides; England,France,Spain and the 13 colonies)that date was actually April 9th 1784!
If you don't believe me please look it up! If you do believe me please look it up!
Comment #8 johnMclaine what the hell is a "blad" eagle? lol. Interesting fact there, back then "bald was another way of saying "white". So instead of saying "white headed eagle" they called it the "bald eagle". And yes it is a beautiful bird.
Comment #18 Canada. When we were brave enough as a nation to enact prohibition, Canada was in the midst to do the same but saw the opportunity to capitalize on the situation and make wiskey to sell to the the likes of Al Capone illegally. Besides that we have a way of making you pronounce the letter "O" lol.
And finally comment #25 che geordievara.......... Ciamar a tha sibh?
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So seeing how July 4th really doesn't hold any real historical value I opt that we change the date to July 5th, we call it "Glad we are not being controlled by England day". For short we'll call it "Cinco de Julyo".

All in favor say "oi"
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Bargain Hunter Bought an Old Copy of the Declaration of Independence for $4, Sold It For Millions!
In 1989, a bargain hunter who bought an old and torn painting for $4 at a flea market found an old copy of the Declaration of Independence tucked away between the canvas and the frame!
it turned out to be one of the 200 official copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, called the Dunlap Broadsides [wiki]. Before this discovery, only 24 copies were known to exist.
The lucky bargain hunter sold his copy of the Declaration at an auction for $8.14 million!

lucky bastard
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this is a reply to "angry", dude calm the hell down. ur getting all mad over a stupid blog. i hate pple who get all salty and sheeeeet over stupid discussion. anyway, aloha to all, from Hawaii!!!!

p.s. to "potsmokingJerry" have fun and smoke your lungs out u fukn ass hole.

Hawaii forevers!!! screw the U.S. mainland!!!!
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why does everybody keep saying those bad words,didn't you guys at least go to ash wednesday yesterday? that was probably the thing that you guys should give up for 39 days now you know cuz yesterday was the 40 days? but o well you guys should be.........not saying those words gosh!
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some of you really ARE crazy i agree with maddie gosh i know he's crazy but ya don't have to go into details!FYI BFranklin if you are readin this beer's a waste of time and money. oh and Pot Smokin' Jerry i should say some a those bad words to you but i can't cause you're probably DEAD BY NOW!!!!!! and nataly garcia if you have not been drinkin then listen to me loud and clear YOU NEED TO SHOVE A BAR OF SOAP DOWN YOUR MOUTH AND CLEAN IT OUT!!!!!!!!! THIS COUNTRY IS BLESSED TO BE FREE!!!!!!!! AND A WEBSITE LIKE THIS ONE SHOULD NOT BE LITTERED WITH YOUR MOUTH!!!!
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i love to celebrate 4th of july bcuz it symboliezes the care tht men and women had for us now in the present. by celebrating this day we thank them for dying or fightin for our freedom!
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To all the people who don't know the declaration of independence symbolizes july 4th. It's ok to celebrate it because of the people who died for our freedom way back in the 1770's

THANK YOU,;D
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you people are crazy. independence day is independence day. the only reason why you foreigners are making angry comments is because you are all jealous. i could care less if the whole document wasnt signed on the 4th. thats when it has been celebrated for many years and its not going to change.
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