Happy Independence Day: Facts about the Declaration of Independence and the Fourth of July

Today is a great day to reflect on what living in America means to you. We are celebrating Independence Day, the day when we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the U.S., this celebration marks the day that our Founders decided to officially separate from England and become an independent nation. If you are looking for some facts about the Declaration of Independence and the Fourth of July, you’ve come to the right place:

Facts about the Declaration of Independence

What do you know about the Declaration of Independence? Here are a few facts about this document, which might be, in American hearts, even more beloved than the Constitution.

  • The original Declaration of Independence was engrossed on parchment. Paper copies were made to be read aloud throughout the colonies.
  • The Declaration is 24 1/4 inches by 29 and 3/4 inches.
  • The signing ceremony for the Declaration of Independence was actually held on July 2, 1776. This is the day that Benjamin Franklin thought would be immortalized.
  • It took until August 2, 1776 for all the delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  • 26 copies of the Declaration, known as the Dunlap Broadside copies, were printed on the night of July 4, 1776.
  • Thomas Jefferson was helped in his efforts to draft the Declaration of Independence by John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston (fun fact for me: one of my ancestors).
  • The writing on the back of the Declaration of Independence is not a treasure map, and it’s quite visible to the eye: “Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July 1776.”
  • The Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially entered into the National Archives until December 13, 1952 — along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The ceremony was held on December 15.
  • The Declaration of Independence is on display, encased in ballistically resistant materials.
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826 — on the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing.
  • The Declaration of Independence, along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, are collectively known as the Charters of Freedom.

Source: The U.S. National Archives

Facts about the Fourth of July

One of the great things about America is the celebration of the Fourth of July with parades, fireworks, picnics and family time. As you prepare to enjoy the Fourth of July, here are some fun facts about this patriotic holiday:

  • There are an estimated 311,690,007 people in the nation’s population on July 4, 2011. In July of 1776, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the nation that was considered newly independent.
  • Mexico is the leading purchaser of exported U.S. flags.
  • We imported $3.2 million worth of American flags in 2010.
  • There is a better than 25% chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages you are eating today came from Iowa.
  • There is a one in three chance that the baked beans you enjoy this July Fourth came from North Dakota.
  • 81 million Americans took part in a barbecue in the last year. The odds are pretty good that many of them did so for Independence Day.
  • Nine U.S. places have the the word “freedom” in their names.

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

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