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7 Little-Known 4th of July Facts

07/01/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene

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Before we start with the trivia, how about a quick synopsis first?

We celebrate the Fourth of July to mark our independence from Great Britain. The Continental Congress declared our independence in 1776 during the Revolutionary War which lasted from 1775 to 1783.  What led to the war?  Colonists had grown tired of the high taxes by the British, this led to boycotts, and eventually the Boston Tea Party.

Did you know:

  1. While many colonists were upset about the taxes in the beginning, few were in favor of complete independence from Great Britain.  It took about a year, after increased hostility and the sharing of revolutionary ideas like those found in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense pamphlet for the idea to take hold.
  2. The Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2nd, 1776 and that is the day that John Adams (an out-spoken proponent for complete independence) felt should be celebrated.  The Declaration of Independence, however, was officially accepted on July 4th, 1776.  So, July 4th became the big day.  Legend has it that Adams felt so strongly about the 2nd of July as the true Independence Day that he refused to participate in 4th of July events.
  3. Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence, however it took almost 20 years for that information to become public knowledge.  Up until then, many believed that the entire Continental Congress worked together to write the document.
  4. Prior to the war, colonists would celebrate the king’s birthday.  Interestingly, in the summer of 1776 some colonists started the very first 4th of July celebrations by holding mock funerals for King George III.  This was to symbolize that England no longer had a control on America. In addition to these grim displays, were more festive celebrations of bonfires, parades, and public readings of the Declaration of Independence.
  5. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day, 50 years later – July 4th, 1826.
  6. Massachusetts was the first to commemorate July 4th as a state holiday in 1781. 
  7. Congress declared July 4th a federal holiday in 1870.  In 1941, it was added to the list of paid holidays for federal employees.

Independence Day has become a day to celebrate with family and friends.  The mock funerals have now been replaced with picnics, barbeques, parades, and fireworks. A much better way to celebrate, in my opinion.

Wishing you a safe and fun holiday!



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