Facts About the Declaration of Independence

John Hancock's famous signature on the Declaration of Independence.

John Hancock’s famous signature on the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is rich with history and is the founding document of the United States of America. There are many known facts about the Declaration of Independence and there many facts that are not so well known to us.

The Declaration of Independence

• The United States Declaration of Independence is an act of the Second Continental Congress.
• The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776
• The United States Declaration of Independence declared that the Thirteen Colonies in North America we “free and independent states.”?
• The Declaration explained the justifications for separation from the British crown.
• It was also an expansion of Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution which had been passed on July 2.
• The Declaration of Independence is on display in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
• The Declaration of Independence is considered to be the founding document of the United States of America
• Americans celebrate Independence on July 4 which was the day that the Declaration was adopted.
• John Hancock was the first and only person to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776.
• John Hancock was the President of the Continental Congress at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
• The remaining 54 delegates did not sign the Declaration until August 2, 1776.
• The Second Continental Congress formed a committee known today as “The Committee of Five. It consisted of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
• The Committee of Five was to come up with a draft for the Declaration. The Committee decided that Jefferson would write the Declaration.
• The Committee of Five first presented the document to Congress on June 28, 1776.


Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration House

• Jefferson was born in to a wealthy family in the United States owning many slaves.
• Although he John Adams and Benjamin Franklin helped Jefferson with the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson is the actual author of the Declaration of Independence.
• In 1776 he was part of a Virginia delegation that planned to ask the Second Continental Congress to sever ties from Great Britain.
• Jefferson did not like being in the middle of the city, so he found a room at Jacob Graff’s home.
• Jacob Graff was a bricklayer who had built his house on the outskirts of town.
• Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in under three weeks.
• The original Graff House was torn down in 1883, but has since been restored and is part of the National Park Service.
• In 1776 Jefferson proposed a motto for the United States Seal. It read, “Rebellion to tyrants is Obedience to God.”? He suggested that the seal image should be something from the Biblical Hebrews being rescued by God via the Red Sea.
• Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
• Thomas Jefferson left his home “Monticello”? to the United States to be used as a school for orphans of navy officers.
• His tombstone read, “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, The Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom, And Father of the University of Virginia.

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