Interesting Independence Facts
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Politics and Activism

Interesting Independence Facts

Learn what you never knew before about one of the U.S.' biggest holidays

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Interesting Independence Facts

With America celebrating its birthday yesterday let's reflect on this meaningful day with some interesting facts about Independence Day, and how the founding fathers came about creating this pivotal document.

1. The Declaration didn’t end the Revolutionary War

It was only a year after the war began that the 56 members of the First Continental Congress created the Declaration of Independence, but it didn’t force British forces to surrender. In fact, there were several instances after the Declaration was signed that almost led to British forces winning the war. It wasn’t until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1784 that the Revolutionary War officially ended and the U.S. was officially an independent state.

2. Only 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of independence

The one outlier? New York. The reason for this is becausethe New York delegates never received any information from their state government on whether or not to vote for independence, which makes sense when you realize that New York was a major battleground for the Revolutionary War, and the state government was probably far too busy to be worried about things like independence. Therefore, they abstained from the final vote and every other vote relating to independence in Congress. Although a unanimous decision was required in order to go forward with declaring independence, New York’s abstention provided a loophole to that requirement.

3. The Declaration wasn’t technically officially ratified until Aug. 2, 1776

Due to a number of reasons, one of the most important being that the declaration needed to be rewritten in more legible writing, the majority of the members of Congress did not sign the document on July 4. It wasn’t until Aug. 2, 1776 that all members of Congress formally signed the document, making it completely official.

4. Thomas Jefferson was not the sole creator or contributor to the Declaration

After Richard Henry Lee proposed the idea of independence to the First Continental Congress on June 7., 1776, Congress assigned five delegates, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson, to draft the document. Although Jefferson was the main writer, the other four significantly contributed as well.

5. Jefferson used many ideas of the philosopher John Locke in the Declaration

In Locke’s famous 1689 political philosophy, Two Treatises of Government, he spelled out the relationships and expectations of governments and their people, and explained the three most important and natural rights that every citizen is entitled to. These ideas were revolutionary and radical for their time, and Jefferson and the rest of the committee wanted to include them in the Declaration. In fact, Jefferson almost exactly copied Locke’s three natural rights; while Locke’s were the right to life, liberty, and property, Jefferson’s were the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Not only does learning more about the Declaration of Independence allow us to see what the United States was founded on, but it also helps us see what will happen in the future, and whether or not we want to change it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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