FAQs

How many copies were originally made of the Declaration of Independence? Were they all signed?

There is only one copy of the engrossed and signed Declaration of Independence, in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This copy was produced and signed several weeks after the Declaration of Independence was first published. 

It is estimated that John Dunlap produced 200 copies of his broadside of the Declaration of Independence, the first printing of the text. Of that original number, there are 26 known copies of the Dunlap broadside in the world today. The Dunlap broadside did… Read more about How many copies were originally made of the Declaration of Independence? Were they all signed?

Is there anything on the back of the Declaration of Independence?

The 2004 movie National Treasure alleged (among other historically crazy things) that there is a secret map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. There is no map, but there is something on the back of the engrossed and signed parchment. A label at the bottom of the parchment reads, "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776". This handwritten note gives a real clue into the history of the Declaration of Independence, which spent much of its early existence rolled up with… Read more about Is there anything on the back of the Declaration of Independence?

Did any of our "Founding Fathers" NOT sign the Declaration of Independence?

George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison are typically counted as "Founding Fathers", but none of them signed the Declaration of Independence.

General George Washington was Commander of the Continental Army, and was defending New York City in July 1776. As instructed by John Hancock, Washington read the Declaration of Independence to the army on July 9th. 

John Jay was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775-1776 (and would later become its President), but was recalled by his home state in May. He was initially more moderate, a supporter of… Read more about Did any of our "Founding Fathers" NOT sign the Declaration of Independence?

How many of the signers were born in the colony they would represent in Congress?

34 of the 56 signers were born in the colony (eventually state) they would later represent in the Continental Congress.

8 signers were born outside of the American Colonies.

  • Button Gwinnett (GA, born in England)
  • Francis Lewis (NY, born in Wales)
  • Robert Morris (PA, born in England)
  • James Smith (PA, born in Northern Ireland)
  • George Taylor (PA, born in Ireland)
  • Matthew Thornton (NH, born in Ireland)
  • James Wilson (PA, born in Scotland)
  • John Witherspoon (NJ, born in Scotland)

14 signers were born in other… Read more about How many of the signers were born in the colony they would represent in Congress?

How many of the signers were born in the American Colonies?

48 of the 56 signers were born in America. Two were born in England (Button Gwinnett, Robert Morris), two in Ireland (George Taylor, Matthew Thornton), two in Scotland (James Wilson, John Witherspoon), one in Northern Ireland (James Smith), and one in Wales (Francis Lewis).

What is the word count of the Declaration of Independence?

The text of the Declaration of Independence, from "When in the course of human events" through "our sacred honor", is approximately 1,320 words long. Some versions of the text add, subtract, or change words, which affects the word count. If you include the title from the engrossed parchment, "In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America," the total word count is 1,337. If you include the names of the 56 signers, the total word count is 1,458.