Happy 4th of July Trivia!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Actually, John Adams would be very surprised the date celebrated is the 4th. The Second Continental by adopting the Lee Resolution officially declared independence on July 2, 1776, after which John wrote his wife, "the 2nd day of July 1776 will be the most memorable...in the history of America ." Sorry, John.

Just be thankful you didn't face 68 changes to the original draft of the Declaration like its author Thomas Jefferson did with the word count going from 1817 to 1337. And writers think they have it bad nowadays.

Although the movie "National Treasure" created a fictional clue to a treasure on the back of the Declaration, there is an actual inscription appearing upside down at the bottom: "Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th of July, 1776." Not as exciting as the movie, but what the 56 men did on July 2nd was. The language of the Declaration was adopted on July 4th.

As the first person to sign the document, John Hancock wrote his name in large letters so that "John Bull" [England] could read it without spectacles. After his signature was affixed, the document was sent to John Dunlap's print shop. The 150-200 copies made became the 'Dunlap Broadsides' with an estimated 25 copies still in existence.

The emgrossed parchment copy produced by Timothy Matlock was signed by most the delegates on August 6, but the last signer was Thomas McKean of Delaware in 1781.

The youngest signer was Edward Rutledge of South Carlina at age 26; the oldest was Benjamin Franklin at age 70.

The 56 men who made the historical declaration of independence were lawyers, physicians, merchants, landowners, farmers, printers and inventors. They faced lost of fortune, imprisonment and death. Samuel Adams would be declared a traitor due to his role in the Boston Tea Party; four signers would be captured and imprisoned, including Edward Rutledge. Homes of nearly 1/3 of the signers would have their homes/estates destroyed or confiscated.

On that summer day in Philadelphia, the 56 men who subscribed to the Declaration of Independence wrote their way into immortality in American history: "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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Thank you to those remarkable Patriots and to all who have served and protected these unalienable rights. Happy birthday, America! Carol