4th of July Facts And Trivia: Everything You Need To Know About Independence Day 2013

US 4th Of July Fireworks, Washington, DC
Fireworks light up the sky during Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C.

Another year to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, has arrived, but there’s much more to this patriotic day then just barbecuing with friends and family and watching some fireworks. To commemorate America’s 237th birthday, the following is a list of some fun facts and trivia about the United States’ Independence Day, courtesy of TheFW.com.

America didn’t actually declare its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776: The 4th of July is synonymous with American Independence, but there’s a misconception as to when the country actually declared its freedom. America’s first Continental Congress voted on the nation’s independence from the British monarchy two days before the “Declaration” was published in newspapers on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t fully signed on July 4, 1776: It took more than a month to get all 56 delegates who represented the 13 colonies to put their “John Hancock” on the document. In fact, John Hancock was not only the paper’s first signer -- he was the only one to sign it on the 4th of July.

John Adams thought the “Second of July” would be celebrated as America’s Independence Day: “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America," Adams wrote on July 3, 1776. “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Three of America's first five presidents died on July 4: Bitter rivals John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died hours apart on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration: Jefferson, 83, passed away in Virginia, and then Adams, 90, passed away in Massachusetts five hours later. John Monroe died on the 4th of July in 1831.

Apple pie isn’t as American as you think: Ever hear the phrase “as American as apple pie”? Well, even apple pie isn’t that American. European settlers brought the fruit dessert and its recipe to the U.S.

Hot dogs aren’t American either?: No one really knows where hot dogs came from, TheFW.com reports. It’s practically impossible to attend a good ol' American cookout without a frankfurter. It is rumored, however, that a New Jersey vendor nicknamed his “hot dogs” and caused the name to stick.

The hamburger’s origin is unknown too?: Don’t worry about the hamburger being American -- it is. But apparently, multiple people claim to have invented it, like Louis Lassen of New Haven, Conn., and Charles Nagreen of Seymour, Wisc.

Americans didn’t always get off work to celebrate the 4th of July: It wasn’t made a legal federal holiday until Congress declared it so in 1870, and in 1941 it became a paid holiday for employees. 

Join the Discussion