The day has begun for people in the United States of America and the country is gearing up for the annual 4th of July celebrations. A big day for Americans, July 4 commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776.
Revolutionary Wars that broke out across the colonies in April 1775 pointed to the fact that a few colonists were seeking complete independence from Great Britain. These were considered radical then but by mid-1776, many more began favouring independence from Britain.
The motion calling for the colonies’ independence was first introduced by a delegate Richard Henry Lee on June 7 at a meeting of the Continental Congress. The vote on this motion was postponed but a committee was appointed to draft a formal statement shedding light on the need for independence. This committee included Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Roger Sherman (Connecticut) and Robert Livingston (New York).
On 2nd July 1776, the Congress saw an almost unanimous vote in favour of independence and two days later, the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document that was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Though the vote actually took place two days earlier, it is the 4th of July that is celebrated as the birth of American independence.
Here are 15 interesting and fun facts related to July 4:
- John Adams believed that America’s Independence Day must be celebrated on 2nd July and not the 4th. When called for celebrations on July 4, he would turn down the invitations in protest.
- Only two men actually signed the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1776- John Hancock and Charles Thompson. Most of the others signed it on 2nd Although there is debate on the validity of this fact.
- Three U.S. Presidents– Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe have died on July 4; the first two on 4th of July 1826; the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
- The country’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on the 4th of July in 1872.
- George Washington issued double rations of rum to all soldiers to mark the independence anniversary in 1778.
- The original 13 colonies were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
- Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
- In 1884, miners blew up the post office in Swan, Colorado because it wasn’t supplied with fireworks although fireworks are an important part of Independence Day celebrations in the U.S.
- The 4th of July was made a federal holiday in 1870; while in 1941, it was turned into a paid holiday for federal employees.
- New York has the biggest fireworks display in America for the 4th of July celebrations.
- The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to publish the Declaration of Independence.
- Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone.
- Two of the nation’s national symbols were made overseas. The Liberty Bell was cast in England, and the Statue of Liberty in France.
- The American flag has changed designs over the years. New stars were added each time a new colony became part of the United States. The current American 50-star flag was designed by an Ohio high school student and has been the official flag of the country since July 4, 1960.
- The “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key in 1884 but earned the status of the national anthem only in 1931.
4th of July, 2018 will see a plethora of parades, firework displays, barbecues and family gatherings in every town of the United States. Wishes from across the globe have already started pouring in on social media.
So grab a hot dog and wait for the sky to light up!
And if you are a history nerd, you can take a look at the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.