On July 2 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and on 4th of July 1776 the same Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers signed the document in August, after it was finished.
In one draft of the original Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was condemning the slavery, stating that any man who has captured and imprisoned persons who never did anything wrong, violating that person’s right of life and liberty has waged a cruel war against human nature itself. Still, Jefferson was himself a slaveholder that’s why The Continental Congress deleted the slavery section from the final Declaration of Independence.
The final and original Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men, one of them being Button Gwinnett of Georgia who died in a duel with a fellow U.S. officer. His signature is the first one on the left of the Declaration of Independence and it is considered to be one of the most valuable signatures of any statesman. It seems that there are only 51 signatures known to exist, all of them very valuable. A letter signed by Gwinnett was sold with $722,500 at Sotheby’s in New York.
Another fact about this important day in the United States of America’s history is that Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S President) and John Adams (2nd U.S. President) both died on 4th of July 1826, when the country was celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing.
Although the capital city of the United States of America is Washington named after the great president, George Washington, the first U.S President, did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was head of the Continental Army and no longer a member in the Continental Congress.
The first anniversary resulted in a huge party in Philadelphia in 1777. There were fireworks, cannons, barbecues and toasts.