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, among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These immortal words defining American liberty are what we should celebrate, but should our celebration be July 4?
George III Coat of Arms
- 56 men ultimately signed this document, but only two signed it on July 4.The vote was actually taken on July 2.
- Most of the remaining founding fathers returned to Philadelphia to sign on August 2, 1776.
- The Public did not learn that they were now citizens of free and independent states until July 8 when the Declaration was read outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The citizens were so aroused that they stormed the building and removed the King George's Coat of Arms which was hanging on the wall and burned it.
- John Hancock was the first man to sign the original Declaration of Independence. The copy he signed was taken to Congress's printer, John Dunlop, who printed 200 broadsides.
- Typeset as opposed to handwritten, these 200 copies of the Declaration were how the army and state governments learned that they were no longer colonials of Great Britain but leaders of 13 independent states. The printing was accomplished in one long night. Legend has it the principal author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, personally proofread the broadsides.
- Of the original 200, only 25 are known to exist. In 1989, the most recent one was discovered in the back of a picture frame at a flea market. The man purchased the frame for $4.00 and in 2000, Sotheby's sold it to Norman Lear for $8.14 million dollars in an internet auction.
- The second signer was the Charles Thomson nicknamed the 57th signer because he was not an official delegate. He served as secretary during the first and second Continental Congress and secretary during the period of the Articles of Confederation. When the Declaration was published in the broadsides only his and John Hancock's name appeared.
Kathryn & Sybren at Independence Hall on 6/30/2016