You already know that the Fourth of July a.k.a. Independence Day is the day we celebrate our independence as a nation. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve taken a history class, you might even remember that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Unlike our other patriotic holidays, July 4th really is a day to celebrate which explains all the fireworks and food we eat.
But how much do you really know about Independence Day?
- The Revolutionary War began in 1775. At that time, people who wanted independence from England were considered radicals. It wasn’t until 1776 that popular opinion changed.
- Our (official) search for independence began in June 1776 when the Continental Congress passed a motion to consider independence and formed a five-person committee to draft the language.
- Three of the people on the committee were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams.
- Technically, the United States declared independence on July 2 when the Continental Congress approved the idea of independence. The delegates did not vote to approve the Declaration of Independence until July 4 which became the day we celebrate.
- Independence Day has been an official federal holiday since 1870. It didn’t become a paid holiday until 1941.
- George Washington celebrated in 1778 by doubling his soldier’s rations of rum for the day.
- One of our inalienable rights is the “pursuit of happiness.” Did you know it was almost the “pursuit of property?”
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 – 50 years after independence was declared.
There you have it! A few things you might not have known about the Fourth of July. If you’re looking for places to watch the fireworks and celebrate our country’s independence, click here.
Happy Fourth of July!