Happy Independence Day! In celebration of our freedom, The Storyside thought we’d bring you something a little different this week.
Here are 25 fun facts about this uniquely American holiday!
- The Declaration of Independence was started on June 11, 1776, but it wasn’t until July 4 that the Continental Congress approved the final wording. The American colonies were declared free and independent states.
- Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They were John Hancock and Charles Thompson.
- The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
- 56 people signed the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote most of it.
- The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place on July 8, 1776 in Philadelphia.
- The White House didn’t celebrate Independence Day until 1801.
- The Declaration of Independence has five parts: the Preamble, the Statement of Human Rights, Charges Against Human Rights, Charges Against the King and Parliament, and the Statement of Separation and Signatures.
- July 4 wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1870, nearly one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
- Currently, the oldest Independence Day celebration in the U.S. is held in Bristol, Rhode Island.
- In 2016, the United States imported $5.4 million in American flags.
- “Laptops” have been around a lot longer than you might think! Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a laptop, a type of writing desk that could fit on your lap, complete with drawers for paper, ink, and other odds and ends.
- Thomas Jefferson changed the wording of the Declaration of Independence from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness.”
- Deathly coincidence! John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the declaration. Jefferson died first.
- John Adams’s dying words were: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” Unfortunately, Adams was wrong because Jefferson had died earlier that day. The news just hadn’t reached him yet.
- The Liberty Bell wasn’t called the “Liberty Bell” until the 1830s, when a group of abolitionists adopted it as a symbol of their cause.
- Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration was lost. The one eventually signed is the “engrossed” document, which is stored at the National Archives.
- The printed version of the Declaration was called the Dunlap Broadside—200 were made, but only 27 are accounted for. One of these was found in the back of a picture frame at a tag sale and sold at auction for $8.14 million to television producer Norman Lear. It now travels the country to be displayed to the public.
- The Fourth of July became a federal holiday in 1870, but it wasn’t a paid holiday until 1941.
- Independence Day is known as one of the booziest holidays in the U.S. Drinking on this day became a tradition when George Washington issued his soldiers double rations of rum to mark the anniversary of their independence.
- On average, beer sales top $1 billion on July 4.
- Most of the fireworks and flags used on the Fourth of July are imported from China, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
- The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr (27) of South Carolina. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (70) of Pennsylvania. The lead author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.
- The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal.
- Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird, but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were ultimately successful in naming the bald eagle as the national bird.
- Approximately 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed on Independence Day every year.
That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed our fun facts. Have a safe and happy 4th!