All Posts

Posted in Law on July 2, 2020   |  by Gary Burger

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day (Saturday). We are closing our office Friday to let our attorneys and staff enjoy the holiday and a long weekend,

Below I discuss a few settlements, our really successful Zoom CLE, an interview with the winner of our scholarship, and more Lawyer v. Lawyer Podcasts and a FB show.

But first, I thought I would give you 10 surprising facts about the Declaration of Independence.

1. The Declaration was not signed on July 4th, 1776.

While the declaration was adopted by the Continental Congress on the 4th, most of the men did not sign it until August 2nd of that year and New York delegates did not even give their support until July 9th.

2. July 4th was not the day the Founders intended to be remembered as Independence Day.

July 2nd was when the Continental Congress voted on Independence and the day they thought would be remembered and celebrated as Independence Day.

3. Signers held a wide array of occupations - 24 lawyers, 11 merchants, 9 farmers.

4. There is more than one copy.

Most people see the original Declaration on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. While it is the original, it is not the only one -- there were hundreds of copies made. These copies are known as the “Dunlop broadsides”. They were used to spread the news of the Declaration throughout the colonies. The rebels had a great system of copying and disseminating information quickly.

5. Two of those copies have been found in the last 25 years .

In 1989, a Philadelphia man got very lucky when he found an original Dunlap Broadside copy in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. It sold for $8.1 million in 2000. What a find! A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War.

6. Three US Presidents have died on 7/4.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July. Adams and Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration’s passage. James Monroe died 5 years later on July 4, 1831.

7. There was a 44 year difference between youngest and oldest signers.

Benjamin Franklin was the oldest signer at 70 years old. But 44 years his junior was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time.

8. The movie National Treasure May Not be Way Off.

In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map written in invisible ink. That is not sure, but there is writing on the back. It reads: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” Its thought this was added as a label, but no one is sure when.

9. The Declaration has only left Washington D.C. twice.

The first time was when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, and the second time was during World War II from 1941 to 1944 when it was stored at Fort Knox.

10. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not rung) 13 times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.