June 30th, 2021 | Miller Advisors

What’s the History of July 4th? Plus, 23 Surprising 4th of July Facts

Many of us celebrate the Fourth of July every year with fireworks, barbecues, concerts and parades. Growing up, you may have heard that we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 because that’s the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, but that’s not technically true! Although the Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776, it wasn’t signed by most people until a month later.

Read on for some more interesting 4th of July facts and history and enjoy July 4, 2021!

4th of July History

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of declaring independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted two days later, marked by the ringing of the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. At the time, John Adams believed that July 2, not July 4, would be the date remembered by history.

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable, Epoch in the History of America,” Adams wrote in a letter to his wife on July 3 of that year. “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” Although our Independence Day celebrations fall on a different date, today’s July 4 festivities would look familiar to Adams, who called for people to celebrate the day 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 forevermore.”

Other early July 4 traditions have not carried through to the present day. Some colonists celebrated the day by holding mock funerals for England’s King George III, as a way of reinforcing America’s victory over the British monarchy, according to History.com.

The Fourth of July was celebrated annually throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1870, Congress declared the day a federal holiday. But it wasn’t until 1941 that the date became a paid federal holiday for federal employees.

Today, fireworks displays around the country echo Adams’ call for “bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

23 Surprising 4th of July Facts

1. The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776.  That’s actually the day it was formally adopted by the Continental Congress, but it wasn’t signed by most signatories until August.

2. American typically eat 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day, “enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times,” according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council .

3. Three presidents have died on July 4: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.

4. John Adams believed that American independence should be celebrated on July 2, as that’s the actual day the Continental Congress voted for independence in 1776.

5. Annoyed that Independence Day wasn’t celebrated on July 2, Adams reportedly turned down invitations to July 4 celebrations throughout his life.

6. Massachusetts became the first state to make the 4th of July an official state holiday in 1781.

7. President Zachary Taylor died in 1850 after eating spoiled fruit at a July 4 celebration.

8. The famed Macy’s fireworks show in New York City uses more than 75,000 fireworks shells and costs about $6 million.

9. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is held annually on July 4. In 2018, champion Joey Chestnut ate 74 hot dogs with buns in just 10 minutes.

10. Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1870.

11. As of 2016, July 4 was the number one holiday for beer sales in the U.S., according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association .

12. In 1778, George Washington gave his soldiers a double ration of rum to celebrate the July 4 holiday.

13. Every July 4, descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence tap the Liberty Bell 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.

14. Eating salmon is a July 4 tradition in parts of New England.

15. Small towns in the U.S. typically spend between $8,000 and $15,000 on their fireworks displays.

16. President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.

17. About 16,000 July 4 fireworks displays happen around the country each year, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

18. With many fireworks shows canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the American Pyrotechnics Association is asking for financial help from Congress to keep family-run fireworks businesses afloat.

19. Starting in 1818, new stars and stripes were added to the American flag each July 4 to make the creation of new states.

20. The U.S. Flag Code offers guidelines for flying the flag on July 4, and every day.

21. John Hancock has the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence.

22. The first July 4 celebration took place at the White House in 1801, hosted by Thomas Jefferson.

23. One World Trade Center in New York is 1,776 feet tall to mark the year the U.S. declared its independence from Britain.

Miller Advisors wish you a very happy and safe 4th of July celebration.

We would like you to note that the federal observance of this holiday is Monday, July 5th. Our office will be closed both Monday, July 5th and Tuesday, July 6th to celebrate.

Article Sources: parade.com
By: Lindsay Lowe | May 31, 2021
Photo Source: iStock