Lately, I’ve felt more disconnected from history than ever before. Researching historical facts keeps pushing me further and further into a rabbit hole of “what else don’t I know” … I started to think history books were rewritten somehow. Turns out, it might just be the Mandela Effect.
My example: “The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.” I picked this “fact” because I felt it cannot be refuted – right? The document is dated. In INK. For the past 247 years, Americans have celebrated Independence Day on July 4th, acknowledging our Declaration of Independence as the bearer of freedom from tyranny.
But was the Declaration of Independence SIGNED on that day? Nope! The actual copy with signatures wasn’t even approved to be “fairly engrossed on parchment” (https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-history) until July 19, 1776! Then, the handwritten Declaration wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776, and by that time The American Revolutionary War had already been raging for a year and a half – a year and a half!! The Revolutionary War started via the “shot heard around the world” on April 19, 1775, not after the Declaration was completed in 1776. (https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/lexington-and-concord-shot-heard-round-world)
So, what exactly happened on July 4, 1776? The wording and text of the Declaration of Independence was RATIFIED by 12 of the 13 states attending the Continental Congress. Immediately following (the same day), copies were printed with the date of July 4, 1776, and distributed for a vote.
So, every year on Independence Day, we celebrate the RATIFICATION and first PRINTING of the Declaration of Independence, NOT the signing of the handwritten document or the sending off the Declaration to England.