- The colonists were frustrated with King George and Great Britain. The men in the Second Continental Congress wanted to inform the King of how people were feeling, and what they wanted done.
- Five men were selected to write the letter to King George. Four of the men were from the Northern Colonies. They were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. One man was from the Southern colony of Virginia. This man was Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was asked to write the actual “letter” because he was such a good writer.
- The Declaration of Independence contained three important points the Congressional Representatives of the Thirteen Colonies wanted King George to know. First, the documents told the King what they believed made good government.
Secondly, it described which rules and taxes the representative thought were unfair. The last statement the representatives included was to declare the colonies free and independent from Britain. Basically, the Declaration of Independence declared war against King George and Great Britain.
- The Declaration of Independence was signed by the Congressional Representatives of the Thirteen Colonies on July 4, 1776.
- Many believe that the most famous and important words in the English language are:
“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.”
- After the letter was finalized on July 4, the Second Continental Congress made copies and distributed it to the people. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as THE Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
- Underneath the word “citizens” there is a smudge on the Declaration of Independence. Historians have always wondered what was under the smudge. Special imaging technology has allowed us a look under the word. Jefferson made a big mistake and accidentally wrote the word “subjects” instead of “citizens”.
- The original Declaration of Independence was not well cared for. Congress would roll it up and carry it with them wherever they met. It suffered a lot of wear and tear. Finally, it has come to rest under bullet-proof glass in a titanium case. The case has argon gas inside, which prevents it from decomposing.
- The Declaration of Independence was written on parchment. Parchment is animal skin which is very thin and treated. Iron gall ink was used to write on the parchment, which is made by combining fermented oak marble galls with ferrous sulfate.
- Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge. He was 26 years old. The only person to ever recant his oath in signing the document was Richard Stockton. John Hancock was President of Congress at the time. His signature is the first and largest on the Declaration. It is rumored that he signed it large and bold because he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles.