July 2, 2020
Happy Independence Day from Peru State College Online! Maybe more this year than ever, we welcome in a weekend full of pride, tradition and safe fun, as we all celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. To give your holiday a little extra spark, here are a few lesser-known facts about Independence Day …
1. Why is the name “John Hancock” synonymous with “your signature?”
Hancock’s bold signature on the Declaration of Independence dwarfed the signatures of the other signers. Legend says that Hancock wanted the king of England to see the rebellious signature without having to wear his spectacles!
2. When did America actually declare independence?
Congress actually ruled in favor of independence on July 2, 1776. But it was two days later, on July 4, that Congress then accepted Jefferson’s document. As a result, John Adams thought July 2 should be Independence Day.
3. How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4?
Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776: John Hancock, president of the Congress, and Charles Thompson, secretary of the Congress.
4. What day did most people sign the Declaration of Independence? August 2, 1776.
5. When did Independence Day become a national holiday? The Fourth of July was not declared a federal holiday until 1938!
6. Is there something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?
Yes, the message “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776” is written upside down on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
7. Where is the Declaration of Independence document today?
Jefferson’s original draft was lost and the one eventually signed is the “engrossed” document. It is kept at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., for all to see. Of the 200 printed versions of the Declaration made (called the Dunlap Broadsides), only 27 are accounted for. One of these was found in the back of a picture frame at a tag sale and sold at auction for $8.14 million to television producer Norman Lear. It now travels the country to be displayed to the public.
8. Where was George Washington when the Declaration of Independence was written?
In July 1776, Washington was not in Philadelphia; he was in New York with his troops. On July 9, he received his copy of the Declaration with a note from John Hancock telling Washington to share the news with his soldiers! They were so excited that they rushed over to the Bowling Green and tore down the statue of King George III. Shortly after this, the British, as Washington expected, attacked the colonists and the American Revolution was under way. The colonists fought eight long, hard years (1775-1783) for their independence from Britain.
After the war was over, Washington hoped he would be able to retire and return to Mount Vernon, Virginia. Instead, in 1789, the electors unanimously voted George Washington the first president of the United States. Because it was such an honor, and he felt a great duty to his country, he accepted. He left Mount Vernon on April 16 and arrived in New York City on April 30 for his inauguration. As he took his oath standing on the balcony of Federal Hall, the crowd broke into cheers. The members of his first Cabinet included Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state and Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the treasury.
Wherever and however you choose to celebrate this Fourth of July, all of us at Peru State College wish you a safe and fun holiday weekend. Visit us at online.peru.edu to learn about our 20-year tradition of serving students online with associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Or call us at 402-902-3005.