Everyone at Sign2Day wishes you a safe Independence Day.
July 4th is more than just a day off for workers and an opportunity to grill out and watch fireworks. This great American holiday cemented the freedom for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that is still the hallmark of the United States of America. Below is a short history lesson and some interesting trivia about the Independence Day holiday.
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The Beginnings of the Independence Day Celebration
Did You Know: On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. The colonies and England had already been at odds for a year when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7th session in the Pennsylvania State House (today it is called Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the now-famous words:
“Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
These words led to the drafting of a statement presenting to the world the colonies’ case for independence. Members of the committee included John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The drafting of the actual document — The Declaration of Independence — was given to Jefferson.
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened, and on the following day, the resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted. Today, the original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. The tradition of it being a patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th an unpaid federal holiday. It became a paid federal holiday in 1938.
Independence Day Trivia
- Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
- The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. Each could have been tried for treason had the revolution failed, losing their lives and their family property.
- 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, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.
- The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
- The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
- The White House held its first 4th of July party in 1801.
- Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on July 4th. Adams and Jefferson (both signed the Declaration) died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.
- In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 326 million.
- Fireworks are part of the tradition of celebrating this national holiday. More than 250 million pounds of fireworks will go up in smoke in 2018.
- Grilling food is also big on Independence Day. Approximately 150 million hot dogs are consumed on this day.
- Every 4th of July, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
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