Celebrate with knowledge this Independence Day
For the melting pot that is America, the Fourth of July signifies a lot things: the middle of summer, fireworks shows, pool time, lake lounging, grilling out and of course, freedom. Sweet, beautiful freedom.
With so much to celebrate on one single day, it’s imperative to get you in tip top celebratory shape. So to help spark your party fuse this Independence Day, here are 25 weird, awesome and mind-blowing facts that will have you seeing stars and stripes!
25: July 2nd is Independence Day
That’s right, we’ve been celebrating a holiday two days too late. According to various historians and author Kenneth C. Davis, the real Independence Day is July 2nd, but we celebrate the 4th because that’s when congress accepted Jefferson’s decleration.
24: The pursuit of … property
Long have we declared “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but that almost wasn’t the case. It was originally “the pursuit of property, which isn’t bad but definitely not as uplifting. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson our sign off has a more optimistic ending for a country that was in need of a hopeful horizon.
23: 4th of July RIPs
Two of our most prominent founding fathers and former presidents – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – both died on July 4, 1826. Weird, yes. But does it get any more patriotic than that?! Furthermore, America’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.
22: Thomas Jefferson’s laptop
That’s right, before we started toting around foldable computers, T.J. was doting around his own “laptop,” a writing desk that fit within his lap.
21: Can I get your Herbie … I mean, John Hancock
Long before Tommy Boy renamed John Hancock, Herbie, he and Charles Thompson went down in history as the only two men to have signed the Declaration of Independence on the actual date – July 4, 1776. All others signed on a later date.
20: Unpaid freedom
In 1870, congress officially made Independence day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. It wasn’t until 1938 that they changed the celebratory date to a paid federal holiday.
19: 13 stripes = 13 colonies
When America was still in its infancy, there were 13 colonies that comprised the country. From those 13 colonies, 56 men would go on to sign the Declaration of Independence.
18: 13 stars & stripes
The original United States flag consisted of 13 stripes (which still stands) for the original 13 colonies, but it also only had 13 stars, also representing the colonies equally.
17: You want to go to a (White) House party?
The first official 4th of July White House party was held in 1801, twenty-five years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What took them so long?
16: Gobble, gobble America
If Benjamin Franklin would have had his way, we’d be celebrating the turkey as our national bird. Thankfully (is there a pun there), Thomas Jefferson recommended the bald eagle much to everyone’s delight.
15: A small nation
By the time the Declaration of independence was signed there was a whopping (drumroll please) 2.5 million settlers living in the new nation. Today, the USA is comprised of more than 316 million. Nearly a 125 times the amount of people in just under two and a half centuries.
14: Made in China
The vast majority of imported U.S. flags in 2012 (2.8 – 3.4 million or approx. 85%) are made in China … just like everything else, apparently.
13: Let liberty ring!
Every 4th of July, the state of Philadelphia taps (not rings because you know cracked and old) the Liberty Bell 13 times to honor the original 13 colonies.
12: “Yankee Doodle” meanies
The infamous nursery rhyme, “Yankee Doodle” is a pre-Revolutionary War song sung by British military officers to mock the disheveled and disorganized appearance of the colonial Yankees with whom they served in the French and Indian War.
The original tune used for the National Anthem was an English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven." Although the words have nothing to do with consuming alcohol, the melody that Francis Key envisioned when writing the Anthem originated decades earlier in a song praising wine.
The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The youngest signer was Thomas Lynch, Jr. who was 26, and the oldest delegate was Thomas Jefferson, who was 70.
9: Harvard alumni
56 people signed the Declaration of Independence, and one out of eight of those delegates (seven total) were educated at Harvard.
8: “Hear ye, hear ye we are free!”
On July 8, 1776, Philadelphia the first Independence Day celebration took place. This day also marks the first time the Declaration of Independence was read to the public after they were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
9: Have yourself a Merry little Independence Day
A bill passed in 1870 officially announced the 4th of July a holiday, as well as recognizing other holidays, like Christmas.
8: Doggone delicious
Americans love eating hot dogs on 4th of July, approximately 150 million helpings of hotdogs to be more specific.
7: Justifying a revolt
Not just content with beating the British to gain freedom, the Declaration of Independence was a written justification for the revolt against the British, complete with a list of charges against the British King.
6: A Declaration declared lost
Did you know that Jefferson lost the original draft of the Declaration of Independence? The one that is actually signed is the “engrossed” version of the document.
5: Freedom for ALL
The Declaration of Independence in all its illustrious liberty lingo became a springboard for several other countries in their own struggles for freedom. The list included France, Russia, Poland, Greece, and many South American countries.
4: Under God
Love it or hate it, one nation fell “under God” when the phrase was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.
3: “What is the Dunlap Broadside for 500, Alex?”
If you’re ever on Jeopardy, you could win big by knowing that the printed version of the Declaration of Independence is called the Dunlap Broadside. Knowing that 200 were printed and only 27 are still accounted for, could earn you a daily double.
2: Lighting $ on fire
Every year, its reported that Americans spend just shy of $700 million on fireworks. That’s a lot of mula up in smoke.
1: Welcome to Earth
Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum lead a renegade cast in a successful effort to save the world from hostile aliens on July 4, 1997. Bill Pulman’s Presidential address still gives chills. Wait … what do you mean this didn’t actually happen?!
There you have it! 25 patriotic facts to put you in the freedom fighter spirit this 4th of July. So whether you’re looking to drop some trivia knowledge at your annual cookout or Binge watch Independence Day on a 24 hour loop, you’ve got all the ammo you need to let freedom resoundingly ring!