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Even today, Declaration of Independence is cornerstone of American government

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck and David Barton step into the Vault to discuss the fundamental importance of the Declaration of Independence. Glenn describes the indissoluble links between the Constitution and the Declaration, describing the latter as the cornerstone of our country.

"Every fundamental movement that we've had to fundamentally shift our individual liberties and freedoms has always said, 'Oh, no. We're Constitution guys. We don't do the Declaration,'" David says. "You can make anything you want if you take the values out."

Jeremy Boyd, curator of the Mercury Museum, then stops by to surprise David with a fascinating new addition to the museum's collection — a highly accurate reproduction of the original Declaration.

Around 1820, John Quincy Adams commissioned William J. Stone to make 201 exact copies of the Declaration of Independence for posterity, which Stone accomplished after three years of arduous labor and experimentation by transferring ink from the original letter to an engraved copper printing plate. However, the ink transfer process caused the original, which is now carefully protected in the National Archives, to fade to near illegibility.

"They took the original, Stone did, and took the original, and wetted it down a little bit, and then laid it on a copper plate so that it would transfer that ink. And that's why, Glenn, it is so light," Jeremy reveals.

This copper plate was used to print around 4,000 additional facsimiles in 1833 at the request of printer Peter Force, who planned to include the copies in a bound volume celebrating early American founding documents. The artifact the Mercury Museum recently obtained is one of these Force copies.

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