Declaration of Independence coming to Minnesota

Declaration of Independence
A replica of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, which will be on display in St. Paul May 6-18.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

Secretary of State Mark Richie said the version of the Declaration that will be on display is not hand-written, but rather it's a typed version that was printed out shortly after the Declaration was signed in 1776.

Secretary of State Ritchie
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announces that a rare original copy of the Declaration of Independence will be on display in St. Paul in May, during the state's sesquicentennial celebration. Behind him is a depiction of the document.
MPR Photo/Tom Weber

"This was the version that was used to declare war; this was the version that was used to inspire the troops; this was the version that was used to inform the British; and this was the version that went out to the colonies to let people know that the Continental Congress had said 'enough is enough,'" Ritchie said Wednesday.

The document Minnesotans can view is one of 25 so-called "Dunlap Broadsides" still known to exist. Richie said this is the only one of the 25 that still travels. Admission will be free to the display.

How the signers of the Declaration might have announced the event

(With apologies to signers of the Declaration of Independence, here is how Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Weber explained the arrival of the document.)

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one state to celebrate its 150th birthday and to assume among the powers of the earth, that that state's people should be allowed to view really really really old historical documents, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to bring to this state an original copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Minn. History Center
The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul will host an original copy of the Declaration of Independence from May 6-18.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

So, declare away, Secretary of State Mark Richie: "When I was pursuing the opportunity of bringing this declaration and making the argument to the people who control it, the thing I stressed was how Minnesota citizens are the people who, in their daily life and who in their political and civic life represent the values in that Declaration of Independence."

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men, women, and children shall be able to view the document when it arrives in St. Paul on May 6 and stays for 12 days, that they be endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the ability to go for free, and the ability to see other important documents, including two hand-written copies of the original Minnesota Constitution.

"One with the Democratic faction and one with the Republican faction," so says Andrea Kajer, with the Minnesota Historical Society.

Andrea Kajer
Andrea Kajer with the Minnesota Historical Society discusses how and where an original copy of the Declaration of Independence will be displayed when it comes to St. Paul in May.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

"And although they agreed and they have this same wording, neither party wanted to sign the other party's documents so we have two of them on display."

We, therefore, do solemnly publish and declare, that the copy of the Declaration that will be displayed in Minnesota is one of 25 so-called Broadsides that were prepared by the printer John Dunlap in the days following the document's signing on July 4th, 1776.

That as free and independent documents, this particular one was feared lost until found in 1989 in a flea market.

"They literally paid $4 for a frame," noted Ritchie. "They found this copy, it was eventually sold for more than $8 million."

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on its protection, given its age, certain lighting and temperature control measures will be taken when it's on display.

We also mutually pledge, along with our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor, that museum officials also plan to arrange extra showings aside from the normal display hours, so groups of veterans and school children can have their own time with the exhibition.

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