(EndPlay Staff Reports) - The Declaration of Independence may be the most significant document ever composed on American soil. Here are five quick facts about the document famously adopted on July 4, 1776.
1. While there isn't a map on the back of the Declaration, as the film "National Treasure" suggested, there is a message. It reads "Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July 1776." The message is written upside down, according to the National Archives , and no one is sure who wrote it.
2. The Declaration of Independence took up residence at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 1952. Before that, the document spent stints in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Princeton, New York and Fort Knox, Ky.
3. Thomas Jefferson might have actually penned the Declaration of Independence, but he had a lot of help. A committee of five was tasked with drafting the Declaration, comprised of: John Adams of Massachusetts; Roger Sherman of Connecticut; Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania; Robert R. Livingston of New York; and Jefferson of Virginia. The document was edited no fewer than 86 times and its length was cut by more than 25 percent.
4. The National Archives is under direction of Dr. Allen Weinstein , who was appointed ninth archivist of the United States in 2005 by President George W. Bush. Other documents in the National Archives collections include the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and veteran service records.
5. Only eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in the colonies that would become the first states. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest man to sign at age 70; the youngest was 26-year-old Edward Rutledge.
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