Everything You Need to Know About the Declaration of Independence

Some fun facts about Independence Day on July 4th.

Declaration of Independence Chronology of Events

(According to ushistory.org)


  • June 7 -- Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, receives Richard Henry Lee's resolution urging Congress to declare independence. 
  • June 11 -- Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence. American army retreats to Lake Champlain from Canada. 
  • June 12-27 -- Jefferson, at the request of the committee, drafts a declaration, of which only a fragment exists. Jefferson's clean, or "fair" copy, the "original Rough draught," is reviewed by the committee. Both documents are in the manuscript collections of the Library of Congress. 
  • June 28 -- A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration of Independence is read in Congress.
  • July 1-4 -- Congress debates and revises the Declaration of Independence.
  • July 2 -- Congress declares independence as the British fleet and army arrive at New York.
  • July 4 -- Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day. John Dunlap prints the Declaration of Independence. These prints are now called "Dunlap Broadsides." Twenty-four copies are known to exist, two of which are in the Library of Congress. One of these was Washington's personal copy.
  • July 5 -- John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatches the first of Dunlap's broadsides of the Declaration of Independence to the legislatures of New Jersey and Delaware.
  • July 6 -- Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6 prints the first newspaper rendition of the Declaration of Independence.
  • July 8 -- The first public reading of the Declaration is in Philadelphia.
  • July 9 -- Washington orders that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York
  • July 19 -- Congress orders the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
  • August 2 -- Delegates begin to sign engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. A large British reinforcement arrives at New York after being repelled at Charleston, S.C.

  • January 18 -- Congress, now sitting in Baltimore, Maryland, orders that signed copies of the Declaration of Independence printed by Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore be sent to the states.

Seven Facts About The Declaration of Independence

(According to the Web site allproudamericans.com)

1. It wasn't actually July 4

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776.  The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.

2. John Adams thought July 2 would be remembered

John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:   "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival..."

3. The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

4. The The last signing was 6 months later

Thomas McKean was the last to sign the Declaration of Independence in January, 1777.

5. Where did the word Patriotism come from

The word "patriotism" comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or "fatherland".

6. Jefferson and Adams died 50 years later

Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826, 50 years after the first Independence Day.

7. When did it become an official holiday?

In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a federal legal holiday.


Test your knowledge of U.S. History and the Declaration of Independence by taking the Declaration of Independence Quiz at constitutionfacts.com

SHARDONNAY January 03, 2013 at 06:31 PM


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something