We celebrate the 4th of July every year with hot dogs, burgers, good friends, family, and of course fireworks. But the traditions we know and love today are much more modern than you might realize. We did some digging and found some fun facts about the 4th of July you probably didn’t know about.
The 4th of July Celebrates the Adoption of the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress
While many of us celebrate America’s Independence Day from the British monarchy on the 4th of July, the holiday actually celebrates the adoption of the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress.
According to the consitutioncenter.org, John Adams thought July 2nd would be marked as the national holiday for generations to come. After voting on Independence Day on July 2nd, the Continental Congress then had to draft a document explaining to the public. It took the Congress 2 days to agree on the edits.
Once the Congress approved the actual Declaration of Independence document on July 4th, it was sent to the printer John Dunlap. About 26 original copies remain.
The Declaration Was Signed by 56 Men
The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the then 13 original colonies. They had declared themselves “The United States of America,” and fully endorsed the Declaration of Independence.
But this was no innocent act.
As America then was still under the control of the British monarchy, the 56 men who signed this piece of paper were considered to be traitors. Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, tortured, and eventually passed under capture. Twelve had their homes raided, ransacked, and burned. Two lost sons in the revolutionary war and another two had their sons captured. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardship of the revolutionary war.
Most of the Signatures Were Signed on August 2nd, 1776
August 2nd, 1776 is one of the most important, yet least celebrated days in American history. On this day, 56 members of the Second Continental Congress signed the original Declaration of Independence.
However, it wasn’t until July 2nd that the Congress approved a resolution through a unanimous vote. The Congress needed to draft a document explaining the move to the public and this draft was completed by the Committee of Five. This committee was made up of John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
4th of July Wasn’t a Paid Federal Holiday until 1941
It’s hard to imagine a time when this long holiday weekend didn’t exist but it wasn’t until 1941 that the 4th of July became a paid federal holiday. While celebrations for the 4th of July persisted throughout the century, it wasn’t until 1870 that it became a federal holiday and in 1941 it became a paid Federal holiday.
3 Presidents have died on the 4th of July
A day for celebration, this day also has a hidden tragedy. 3, in fact. In 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both passed on the 4th of July within 5 hours of each other. James Monroe passed exactly 5 years later. The men were the second, third, and fifth U.S. presidents respectively.
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