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IPFS News Link • Declaration of Independence

Chuck Norris: 7 Little-Known Facts About the Declaration of Independence

•, by Chuck Norris

Several historical websites hold some fascinating facts about this national treasure, including the National Archives in Washington, D.C.'s article, "9 Things You May Not Know about the Declaration of Independence," by Elizabeth Harrison, has some intriguing information, too. Let me elaborate on some of those and convey a few others I've discovered.

1. Benjamin Franklin wrote the first "declaration of independence."

In April 1775, the American Revolutionary War began at Lexington and Concord. On July 5, 1775, a entire year before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition, written by John Dickinson with the help of Thomas Jefferson. It appealed directly to King George III for reconciliation between the American colonies and Great Britain.

Though Benjamin Franklin signed the Petition for the sake of consensus, he radically differed with it and said that stronger sentiments were necessary because the Petition was destined to be rejected.

Franklin was so appalled by British atrocities and exhausted of their rule that he planned the first articles of confederation and drafted a declaration of independence to be issued by none other than Gen. George Washington.

So strong was the language of the draft that Thomas Jefferson wrote, while some members of Congress like himself "approved highly of it," others would be "revolted at it." Jefferson explained in his private commentary that "proposing it to congress as the subject for any vote whatever would startle many members."