In the Hollywood movie, “National Treasure,” the main character played by Nicolas Cage is on a quest to find a secret treasure.
The clues lead him to steal the “Declaration of Independence” before another person can do it, and protect his family’s honor by finding the lost treasure. In the movie, there is a secret message on the back of the Declaration providing clues to get to the treasure.
Well, there does happen to be something written on the back of the “Declaration of Independence,” but it isn’t a secret code or map. It is these words:
“Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776”
In 1776, the Continental Congress over the American states asked a committee to draft a declaration of independence from England. Thomas Jefferson was a member of this committee of five people and was asked to create the initial draft of the document for the committee to review. Jefferson’s draft was edited by the committee and presented and adopted by the committee on July 2, 1776. It was formally adopted on July 4th.
The declaration was then sent to a printer named John Dunlap. He made 200 copies to distribute throughout the colonies. These were called the “Dunlap Broadsides.” In 1989, someone bought an old picture in a frame, and behind the picture was one of these rare copies. They later sold it for more than $8 million.
The “Declaration of Independence” is really an international treasure. It was a blueprint for the people of any nation to look to for justification for their freedom. In America we get excited about the 4th of July each year when we think of fireworks and parties, but the men who created and signed the declaration were signing their own death warrants as they committed treason against England.
Discuss: What are some ways we can honor our ancestors for the things they have done, including our Founding Fathers?