A visit to Philadelphia reveals some interesting facts about U.S. Independence.
July 4th is the celebration of a new beginning. The fourth day of the seventh month is the day I always believed the Declaration of Independence was signed, binding the original 13 colonies together as a united nation.
But I recently discovered that is not accurate. During the summer my family is learning a little bit more about our American History by visiting the many historic sites in my city. We are doing this mainly because the fascination of discovering the little details that have fabricated our side of the world has always made my family curious.
Recently, we visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We also visited the Second Bank of America, the First Bank of America, and many other places around the Birthplace of Independence. But, it was Independence Hall that gave us the most information about our prestigious signers of the Declaration. About 80 percent of Independence Hall has been the same since it was built around 1732. The rest was restored to look authentic.
Many people do not understand the signifigence of Independence Hall. Originally it was called the Pennsylvania State House, but later, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, it became Independence Hall because it was the birthplace of our independence from the Great Britian.
During the tour we went into the signing room and the supreme court room. The picture above is the most accurate portrait of the signing of the declaration. The signing room is an accurate recreation of that picture. I really wanted to learn more, so after the tour, I asked the tour guide (who was a park ranger) a little more about Independence Hall. Here are a few of the things he told me:
July 4th is not the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. It is the day Congress adopted the document and had it printed so that it could be distributed and read to the public. The first public reading was in Philadelphia on July 8. None of the signers were present at that reading. It was not signed by the founding fathers until August 2, 1776. George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was busy fighting the British!
If you are interested in learning more about how we became the United States of America, you should come to Philadelphia and check out all the cool historic places here. The best part is...most are FREE! But if you can't come, you can always go online and take a virtual tour. A good place to start is the National Constitution Center.
John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man drafting committee of the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Congress. The painting can be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill. The original hangs in the US Capitol rotunda. Photo Credit: Library of Congress