The Mercury News
July 4 wasn’t the day the Continental Congress decided to declare independence, it did that July 2, 1776. It wasn’t the day it signed the document, either so what happened on July 4? The Continental Congress approved the final wording. Take this quiz to see what else you may or may not know about America’s birth certificate.
In a vote held by the National Archives and Records Administration, 75.9% of the participants named the Declaration of Independence the most influential document in American history. The original was engrossed on parchment and paper copies were sent to the colonies.
244 YEARS AND COUNTING
1. The Declaration of Independence was signed on what date?
A) July 4, 1776
B) Aug. 2, 1776
C) Aug. 12, 1776
Answer: B, It took almost a month before the document was signed by the whole Congress. It was approved by vote July 4, 1776. 2. How many signatures are on the Declaration of Independence?
C)56 Answer: C, 56 men signed the Declaration; two members of Congress never signed. 3. How many of the 56 signers of the Declaration were born in England?
C)1 Answer: Eight of the signers were born in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. 4. The Declaration hung on a wall exposed to sunlight for 35 years, from 1841 to 1876. What building was it in?
A) The U.S. Capitol
B) The U.S. Patent Office
C) The White House
Answer: B, The document along with George Washington’s commission as commander in chief were mounted side by side.
5. Where was the Declaration of Independence held during World War II?
A) Fort Knox, Kentucky
B) The U.S. capital
C) Area 51
Answer: A, From 1941 to 1944 the document was kept in the Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. 6. Where is the Declaration of Independence on display now?
A) The National Archives rotunda
B) The Jefferson Memorial
C) Independence, California
Answer: A, Before the global pandemic, an average of about 6,000 people saw it a day. 7. The Declaration of Independence is now kept in a bullet-resistant, titanium and aluminum case. It is sealed with no oxygen but which gas?
A) Inert argon
C) Hydrogen Answer: A, Inert argon, kept at about 40% humidity and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, replaces air to avoid oxidation of parchment or ink. 8. The signers of the document grouped their signatures by colony. What colony had the most signatures?
Answer: B, Pennsylvania had nine delegates.
9. How old was Thomas Jefferson when he drafted the document?
C)30 Answer: B, Jefferson was one of the younger members of Congress. The youngest was Edward Rutledge at age 26. 10. How many signers of the Declaration became U.S. presidents?
Answer: B, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, The grandson of Benjamin Harrison, William Henry Harrison became a president as well.
George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence. While the Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, Washington and his forces were in New York.
11. How old was Benjamin Franklin when he signed the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: B, Franklin was the oldest member of Congress. He lived another 14 years and also signed the U.S. Constitution in 1788.
12. How long did Thomas Jefferson take to write the first draft of the Declaration of Independence?
A) One day
B) 2–1/2 weeks
C) One month
Answer: B, Jefferson worked on his first draft between June 11 and June 28, 1776.
13. Which of these three signers never owned slaves? A) John Adams
B) Thomas Jefferson
C) Benjamin Franklin
Answer: A, Adams never owned slaves. Franklin did have two as household servants but took up the cause of abolition later in life.