Summer is in full swing and that means grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores across the country are filling up with star spangled décor, fireworks and sparklers, and all the goodies you need for your annual 4th of July cookout! Our country’s Independence Day is a chance to appreciate those who came before us and fought for liberty and justice for all! It’s a day to gather with loved ones, enjoy the summer weather, and create memories. Most importantly, during times like these, it gives us a chance to put our political beliefs aside as patriots and people, and stand united as one. While most of us know the significance of the 4th of July and the history behind it, we wanted to share some interesting facts you may not know about this important day in history:
Although several of our founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, later claimed that they indeed signed the Declaration on July 4th, historical records support the opposite, noting that signatures were not present in Philadelphia until later on. To cement this claim, it is a known fact that documents such as this almost always underwent multiple revisions, this particular document was finally approved on July 4th, and it would make sense that it likely would have taken some time for the official copy to be handwritten on parchment and then signed by everyone.
There has been much debate over this topic, but many historians postulate that a majority of the signatures on this document did not occur until August 2nd.
Although Thomas Jefferson owned slaves himself, his original draft of the Declaration of Independence voiced an opinion that opposed King George III’s support for slave trade. In his draft, Jefferson stated that slave trade was, “a cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty”
After much debate, the slave-owning delegates to the Second Continental Congress rejected the slavery portion of Jefferson’s draft and had it removed.
That’s right, our national anthem was inspired by an English gentlemen’s club in London. The melody that Francis Scott Key put lyrics to in order to create the nations first musical hit, came from the constitutional song, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” written for the Anacreontic Society, a club in London named for the Greek poet Anacreon.
4. The 13 original colonies officially declared independence on July 2nd, not July 4th.
On July 2, 1776, delegate Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence that would dissolve the political bands that connect the colonies to the crown was at last approved by the Second Continental Congress.
We celebrate July 4th as our Independence Day because that was the day Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. It took them two days after the 2nd to debate and revise the contents of the document before it could be officially approved.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more fatal car crashes occur on Independence Day than any other day of the year. Over the past five years an average of 118.4 individuals died on the 4th of July due to car accidents.
An eerie but true fact is that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July. Even spookier is that Adams and Jefferson died within hours of one another on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Declaration of Independence. Five years later, James Monroe passed away in 1831.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015 the United States imported $311.7 million worth of fireworks from China, accounting for almost 96 percent of total U.S. fireworks that year.
Furthermore, Chinese goods also accounted for almost 98 percent of all U.S. imports of American flags in 2015, spending $4.3 million on China imported American flags out of a total $4.4 million on U.S. flags.
Talk about the ultimate cheat day. You can almost guarantee that on July 4th every grill in America will be up and running! Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on this holiday each year. They also spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 on beer (which explains number 5).
However you choose to spend your day off (because Independence Day is a federally recognized holiday since 1870), make sure you have fun, and stay safe!