As you probably know, Independence Day often called the Fourth of July is the holiday to commemorate the Continental Congress’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776. This document, primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, was the formal announcement of the separation of the 13 colonies from the British Empire. Hence, a new nation was born.
While this is this the most commonly known fact about the 4th, here are a few other lesser known facts about this nation’s birthday.
- The Declaration of Independence was originally called the Unanimous Declaration. This document does not address King George III nor was it ever delivered to him. It’s intent was to justify to both the American colonists and the rest of the world why the Continental Congress felt it necessary to separate from Great Britain.
- The vote to declare independence actually occurred on July 2nd, but the Declaration was not adopted until July 4th.
- John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. He did so because as Continental Congress President he was charged with authenticating the document with a signature so that copies could be dispatched to colonial legislatures for approval and sent to the Continental Army.
- The remaining members of the Continental Congress did not sign until August 2, 1776.
- The final of the 56 men to sign the Declaration was Thomas McKean which occurred in January 1777.
- Three presidents have died on the 4th of July. John Adams(2nd President), Thomas Jefferson(3rd president), and James Monroe(5th president). Interestingly, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in the same year.
- The first Independence day celebration was held in Philadelphia, PA on July 8, 1776.
- The first 4th of July party held in the White House occurred in 1801.
- Congress declared the 4th of July a federal legal holiday in 1941. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.
- More than 66 million people gather for barbecues on the Fourth, and over $135.6 million is spent on fireworks.
Please feel free to share any 4th of July facts that you know and of course…
Everyone have a safe and happy 4th of July.