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Ten Fun Facts about the 4th of July

Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is a day of celebration in the United States, marked by fireworks, barbecues, parades, and a strong sense of national pride. But beyond the well-known festivities, there are many fascinating facts about this historic day. Here are ten fun facts about July 4th that you might not know:

1. The Declaration wasn’t signed on July 4th

While July 4th, 1776, is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States, marking the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, the document was not actually signed on that day. The process of signing the Declaration took several weeks due to great distances of travel, with most of the 56 delegates affixing their signatures on August 2, 1776. Only John Hancock and Charles Thomson signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

2. Fireworks is an American tradition dating back to 1777

Fireworks date back as a tradition of Independence Day as early as the first anniversary in 1777. John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that he wanted Independence Day to be celebrated with pomp, parade, shows, and “Illuminations.” This original letter was written when Adams presumed that Independence Day would be celebrated on July 2.

3. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence

… and no, it isn’t a treasure map written in invisible ink. According to the History Channel, a simple message is written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document that reads, “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” According to the same article, no one knows who wrote this or when, but it was believed to have been added as a label during the years of the Revolutionary War when parchment was frequently rolled up for transport.

4. Three Presidents died on July 4th

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and former presidents, died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. President James Monroe also died on July 4th, in 1831.

5. One President was born on July 4th

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, was born on July 4, 1872. He is the only U.S. president born on Independence Day.

6. One Declaration signer recanted his support

Richard Stockton, a lawyer from New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution after being captured by the British in November 1776 and thrown in jail. After years of abusive treatment, and his recanting of loyalties, Stockton was released to find all of his property destroyed or stolen by the British. His library, one of the finest in the colonies, was burned to the ground.

7. Hot dog extravaganza

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans consume around 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day each year. That’s enough to stretch from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles more than five times.

8. The Liberty Bell rings 13 times

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not rung, due to its crack) 13 times every July 4th in honor of the 13 original colonies. Descendants of signers of the Declaration of Independence are invited to do the tapping.

9. The average age of the signers was 45

Of the 56 signers, the youngest signers, Thomas Lynch Jr. and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, were only 26. However, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest signer at 70 years old.

10. The Declaration of Independence was written on a laptop

Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a writing desk that could fit over one’s lap. This device was referred to at the time as a “laptop.”

Conclusion

The Fourth of July is more than just a day off work and an excuse for a party. It’s a day rich in history and traditions, some of which are surprising and little-known. Whether you’re watching fireworks, enjoying a barbecue, or reflecting on the nation’s history, these fun facts add an extra layer of appreciation to the celebration. Happy Independence Day!

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