Happy OFFICIAL Independence Day!
You won’t see any fireworks or get the day off today, but on this date in 1776, members of the Continental Congress officially signed the Declaration of Independence, almost a full month after the initial vote in favor was successful on July 4.
Interestingly, two of the original “yes” votes from 12 of the 13 colonies that voted in favor ended up not signing it at all.
Here are some other Declaration of Independence facts you may not have known:
- There were dozens of additional copies of the document made, called the “Dunlap broadsides” that were distributed across the colonies to spread the news of independence. Only 26 of those copies survive.
- New Yorkers, upon having the document read to them, got so fired up that they rioted, tore down a statue of King George III and melted it down to make ammunition to fight the British.
- One of the Declaration signers – Richard Stockton of New Jeresey – later recanted under duress after being captured by the British and thrown in jail.
- The oldest man to sign the document was Benjamin Franklin, who was 70. The youngest was Edwin Rutledge of South Carolina, who was 26.
- During World War II, the original copy of the Declaration of Independence was stored in Fort Knox due to fears Washington D.C. might come under attack. It was returned to the capital in 1944.