Just the Facts
Five Facts on the 4th of July
By No Labels
July 4, 2018 | Blog
Today is the 4th of July, a day when all Americans come together to celebrate our freedoms and liberties. At a time when politics can be so divisive, the 4th of July provides an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate all of the things that make America so special. Here are five facts you might not know about our Independence Day.
Independence Day could have been July 2nd
The Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and voted for independence from Britain on July 2nd, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th and the city of Philadelphia celebrated its signing on July 8th though it wasn’t actually signed until August. John Adams mistakenly predicted, “the Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
The 4th of July was declared a public holiday in 1870 with the passage of the Legal Holidays in the District Act
The bill introduced by Sen. Hannibal Hamlin (D-ME), a former vice president under Abraham Lincoln, also recognized Christmas and New Year’s Day as public holidays. However, it wasn’t until June 29, 1938, that Congress passed a law designating the 4th of July as a Federal holiday with pay.
Three presidents have died on July 4th
Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the July 4th. Coincidentally, Adams and Jefferson both passed away on July 4, 1826, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence was first adopted.
Fireworks have been a part of July 4th celebrations since the first anniversary of America’s independence in 1777
In 1777, the biggest celebration took place in Philadelphia where people celebrated by firing a cannon shot for every state in the union, having dinner, making toasts and, setting off fireworks. The city of Boston also used fireworks that year during their 4th of July celebration. Fireworks, however, were difficult to manage and expensive in the 18th century, so their use spread relatively slowly across the U.S. It was not until the late 19th century, after fireworks became safer and more colorful, that they became a true staple of the 4th of July.
The Liberty Bell is rung every year at 2 pm on the 4th of July
This tradition mimics the events of July 8, 1776, when it was rung to summon the citizens of Philadelphia for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Nowadays, the Liberty Bell is symbolically hit 13 times – to represent the original 13 colonies – by descendants of the Declaration’s signers.