4th of July Facts Everyone Needs to Know

I am proud to be an American and love the 4th of July! Although this holiday is usually associated with barbeques, great food, good times and fireworks, here are some fun facts to help you show your love of America (and maybe impress a few people at your celebration).

1.     Not all 13 colonies were in agreement.

The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the colonies on July 4, 1776 after 3 days of revisions on the document that was originally started in June of that year. Out of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of declaring their independence from England, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained from voting altogether. 

2.     That original document is still lying around.

The Declaration of Independence is not actually thrown in some forgotten corner! The original document is currently housed at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. where it is carefully maintained after almost entirely fading. You can visit the National Archives Museum to see the document seven days a week and admission is free!

3.     The colonists had a morbid sense of humor.

In 1776 after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the colonists celebrated by holding mock funerals of King George III which included the ringing of bells and having bonfires. Wow, he was really liked.

4.     We liked to party early on!

Even from the early days, we liked our celebrations and the 4th of July was no different. The first annual commemoration was held in Philadelphia in 1777. These early festivities included concerts, speeches, parades, bonfires and the shooting off of cannons and muskets.

5.     The federal government was a little slow on the uptake (feign surprise)!

The first 4th of July celebration at the White House wasn’t held until 25 years later in 1801. Congress finally declared July 4th a national holiday in 1870, almost 100 years later. In their defense, most holidays were not officially recognized until after this time. It took until 1941 for it to become a federal holiday.

6.     Our National Anthem isn’t even 100 years old.

Although Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” back in 1814 after observing the attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, it wasn’t our national anthem until much later. He titled the poem “The Defence of Fort McHenry” which was later set to music and people began to refer to it as “The Star Spangled Banner”. It was finally decreed as our national anthem in 1931.

7.     It has some gloomy history.

Three presidents of the United States, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, all died on the 4th of July. On a positive note, however, Calvin Coolidge was born on this date in 1812.

8.     Oscar Meyer would be proud!

More hot dogs will be consumed on this date than any other day of the year. According to the Washington Examiner, 150 million hot dogs will be eaten on that one day. If you’re a hot dog fan, you definitely have the popular vote.

9.     Fireworks are nothing new.

Fireworks were first used to celebrate the 4th back in 1777. John Adams wanted to have a bash that was unforgettable and these blazing bundles of entertainment have yet to disappoint. The first two places to use fireworks were Philadelphia and Boston. By 1783 they were made available to the public so it didn’t take long for everyone to join in on the revelry.

10. We weren’t the first to use fireworks.

It’s pretty common knowledge that we didn’t invent fireworks however. Although they are synonymous with the USA’s birthday, the Chinese were using them as early as the 12th century.

That concludes my 4th of July fact review! I hope this helps you show up that know-it-all who seems to be at every celebration. Now go eat a hot dog!