How much do you know about Independence Day?
When delegates in Philadelphia decided 238 years ago to "pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and sacred Honor" in declaring independence from Great Britain, they changed world history. The Declaration of Independence announced not only the colonies' formal separation from Great Britain, but the belief that all governments derive "their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."
So it's just indeed that Americans will celebrate today in the manner prescribed by John Adams: "It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
Adams actually was talking about July 2, 1776, when he and his colleagues approved the Lee Resolution calling for separation from the British Crown, and for foreign alliances and a plan for confederation. Which leads to the quiz below. See how well you know some of the details about Independence Day.
1. Who, besides Thomas Jefferson, was on the committee that was appointed to write the Declaration of Independence?
2. How many changes did the committee and other members of the Continental Congress make to Jefferson's original draft? (a) 0, (b) 3, (c) 86, (d) 1,776.
3. True or False: After the Declaration was distributed, colonial Minutemen and British troops fought at Lexington and Concord.
4. Did George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence?
5. The Founders, well aware of the importance of what they had just done, immediately declared that Independence Day forever would be a national holiday.
6. How many signers of the Declaration later became U.S. presidents?
7. Two signers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, later became bitter political rivals before reconciling late in life. Coincidentally, they died on the same day, ____ __, ____.
8. Who said: "No people ever enjoyed more Happiness, or lived under a milder Government, than those now revolted Provinces: the Improvements in every Art, of which they boast, declare it."
9. Which president, a contemporary of Adams and Jefferson but not a signer of the Declaration, also died on July 4?
10. In 1989, someone found one of just 26 known copies of the original 200 copies of the Declaration printed by John Dunlap. How much did it go for at auction in 2000, (a) $1, (b) $1 million, (c) $8 million, (d) $100 million.
1. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman.
3. False. British and American forces clashed often for more than a year before the Continental Congress met. "The shot heard round the world" was fired in April 1775.
4. No. He was in New York City early in July 1776, preparing to defend against a major British army that had landed on Long Island. He read a copy of the Declaration to assembled troops on July 9, 1776.
5. False. Congress did not establish July 4 as a national holiday until 1870.
6. Two - Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
7. July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after they signed the Declaration of Independence.
8. King George III, in a speech to Parliament on Oct. 31, 1776, upon learning of the Declaration of Independence.
9. James Monroe - July 4, 1831.
10. C - $8 million.