By: Caitlin Robertson
Just six sheets of paper. The words on these sheets of paper changed the world. That’s right. I’m talking about the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
I was looking forward to going to the National Archives, but actually going far exceeded my expectations. Seeing these documents was surreal. For over two centuries our country has abided by the words written on these pages. The power of those words is incredible.
I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of looking at the documents that founded our country. One of the security guards told us that standing next to the documents never gets old. I believe him.
Interestingly, the Declaration was so well-worn it was hard to see the words. This is because the Declaration was commonly placed on public display in the early years of the country (and not exactly the best preservation practices were used.) Here are a few more fun facts about the Charters of Freedom.
- The Constitution is the oldest and shortest written Constitution in the world
- Benjamin Franklin was 81 when he signed the Constitution, making him the oldest signer
- July 4th is the day the final draft of the Declaration was approved. It was not signed until August 2nd by most delegates
- There are 26 unsigned versions of the Declaration held in museums, libraries, and private collections.
- In the Bill of Rights Congress is spelled ‘Congrefs’ and press is spelled ‘prefs’
- There were originally 14 copies of the Bill of Rights. Twelve copies still remain today.