PHILADELPHIA ( – The Declaration of Independence, proclaimed 235 years ago, originally contained a dozen unalienable rights, including life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, gluten-free snack crackers, and the right to stone witches recreationally. For more little known Declaration facts, read on.

  • As a parting gift in celebration of their landmark declaration of human rights, South Carolina delegate Edward Rutledge bought each of his fellow signers a slave.
    The five-member committee chosen to draft the Declaration cried for days after the breakup.

  • The “Founding Fathers” were given that moniker not because they “founded” a new country but because the 56 delegates had fathered most of the children then in the colonies. Benjamin Franklin alone had 445,000 offspring.
  • Georgia delegate Button Gwinnett was, as his name suggests, adorable.
  • New York’s Lewis Morris later used “unalienable” as his safe word.
  • A backup copy of the Declaration of Independence was tattooed onto the back of Massachusetts signer Elbridge Gerry. Every time Gerry turned to his left, John Hancock’s signature was compressed to read, ‘oh cock,’ which routinely left the Virginia delegation in stitches.
  • The Broadway musical 1776, which depicted the delegates dancing and singing their way through the streets of Philadelphia, was entirely accurate.
  • The Declaration mentioned a “Creator” and “divine providence,” but did not mention God by name due to a long-running copyright dispute.
  • During a lengthy recess in deliberations, delegates William Hooper of North Carolina and William Whipple of New Hampshire invented the Whipple-Hooper, which is still used by lonely woodsmen today.
  • To coax his signature, 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin was actually told he was signing a birthday card.
  • During the Declaration’s roll-call vote, New Jersey’s delegates shouted “Yo” instead of “Yea” and made “rude gestures of hand that mimicked acts unseemly.”
  • Of the 27 listed grievances against the Crown, Jefferson later admitted making up “at least 18 of them.”
  • Prior to the beginning of the Continental Congress, free agent John Hancock earned the wrath of other states by signing with Massachusetts, where he teamed up with John and Sam Adams to create what they constantly called the “Big 3.” Hancock called himself “The King” and originally signed his name “LeJohn Hancock.”
  • Virginia’s Francis Lightfoot Lee constantly insisted that women should be included in the document, which frankly surprised none of the other delegates.
  • The First Continental Congress, in 1775, also announced a break with Great Britain, but their resolve melted after a remorseful George III made puppy eyes at them and breathed the now-famous supplication: “You complete me.”
  • New Jersey’s Abraham Clark liked to dress up as King George III and yell “Boo!” just to spook the delegates. Signers later got him back by beheading him.
  • In the initial draft of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson suggested 12 unalienable rights: Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, True Love, Clean Hosiery, Chicken Fights, Recreational Witch Stoning, Gluten-Free Snack Crackers, the Name of a Decent Wigmaker, the Abolishment of the Capital Gains Tax Should Such Come into Fashion, and the right to Remain at Toilet for at Least 15 Minutes Without Being Impressed Upon to Make Haste, Which Is Uncivil and Can Cause Disruption to One’s Nature and Constitution.

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