The Mercury News


- By KURT SNIBBE | Southern California News Group

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.


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?

A) 50

B) 13

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?

A) 56


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

B) Methane

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?

A) Virginia

B) Pennsylvan­ia

C) Georgia

Answer: B, Pennsylvan­ia had nine delegates.

9. How old was Thomas Jefferson when he drafted the document?

A) 45

B) 33

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?

A) 55

B) 70


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.

This painting has been hanging in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since 1826. It is 12 feet by 18 feet.
“DECLARATIO­N OF INDEPENDEN­CE” BY JOHN TRUMBULL, 1818. This painting has been hanging in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda since 1826. It is 12 feet by 18 feet.
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