Happy birthday, America! Picnics, barbeques, cold drinks and fireworks: These are just some of the staples of the Fourth of July. But without America’s Founding Fathers -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe -- there wouldn’t be an Independence Day to celebrate.
While most Americans know that the U.S.’s birthday is celebrated on July 4, it’s a misconception that all the signers of the Declaration of Independence signed it on the Fourth of July. For more fun facts about America’s Independence Day, keep reading:
1. How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth?
2. What day did most signers of the Declaration of Independence actually sign the document?
Aug. 2, 1776.
3. Did you know which president was born on July 4?
It was Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872.
4. Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July:
They were three of the first five presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The second president, Adams, and the third, Jefferson, both died in 1826, the 50th anniversary.
5. Most of the Founding Fathers agreed that July Fourth is the correct day to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain -- except one. Who is it and why?
Adams thought July 2, the day the Second Continental Congress voted in Philadelphia to declare independence from Britain, would be the day patriots celebrated. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” Adams wrote on July 3. “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.
6. When did the Fourth of July become a legal federal holiday?
1870. Then, in 1938, Congress reaffirmed the holiday to make sure all workers received full pay.
7. Is there something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?
Yes! It’s said the following is written upside down and backwards: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” It’s not known who wrote it, or when. In Revolutionary War years, parchment was rolled up, so this probably served as a message.
8. The Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Contest has become an annual tradition. How did it start?
It’s a pretty cute story: Legend has it that four immigrants got into an argument over who was most patriotic. To prove themselves, they ate as many hot dogs as they could handle -- because nothing says America like excess.
9. America isn’t the only nation that celebrates the Fourth of July. Which other countries do, and why?
It might sound odd, but if you celebrate the Fourth of July outside the U.S., you still might see fireworks in Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. This is because thousands of people emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Some European celebrations on the Fourth take place near tourist destinations -- to attract U.S. travelers -- or near American military bases.
10. When were fireworks first used to celebrate July Fourth?
1777. Congress chose fireworks as a way to celebrate the first anniversary. They were ignited over Philadelphia. The celebration also included bonfires and bells.
11. How many people lived in the U.S. when the Declaration was signed?
12. What baseball player threw a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on July 4, 1983?
New York Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti. It was the first no-hitter in 27 years.
13. Which newspaper first printed the Declaration of Independence?
The Pennsylvania Evening Post
14. Which president first held a Fourth of July celebration at the White House?
15. Which country gained independence from the United States on July Fourth?
The Philippines did in 1946.
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