On this federal holiday, also known as Independence Day, marking the Colonies’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared independence from the Great Britain and its king, we thought it would be appropriate to share some fun facts about this historic day.
Are you excited? We hope so, because this Independence Day is going to be AMAZING. To help you get in a celebratory spirit, we present to you these 21 4th of July fun facts that will make you want to celebrate.
1. According to author Kenneth C. Davis, July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
2. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap.
3. Thomas Jefferson changed the wording of the Declaration of Independence from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness.”
4. Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776 — John Hancock and Charles Thompson.
5. The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called “to Anacreon in Heaven.” The words have nothing to do with consumption of alcohol but the “melody that Francis Key had in mind when he wrote those words did originate decades earlier as the melody for a song praise of wine.”
6. Barbecue is also big on Independence Day. Approximately 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed on this day.
7. Fireworks are part of the tradition of celebrating this national holiday. The U.S. imported $227.3 million worth of fireworks from China in 2012. U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $11.7 million in 2012, with Israel purchasing more than any other country ($2.5 million).
8. Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.
9.In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 316 million.
10. The White House held its first 4th July party in 1801.
11. Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
12. Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
13. The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven.
14. Both the Philippines and Rwanda celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day,” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.”
15. The average age of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest at age 27, was Thomas Lynch, Jr of South Carolina. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania at age 70. Thomas Jefferson was 33.
16. 1 out of 8 signers were educated at Harvard (7 total).
17. 87.5% ($2.8 million) of imported U.S. flags are from China.
18. “Yankee Doodle,” a popular American patriotic song, was originally sung prior to the Revolution by British military officers in mockery of the unorganized and buckskin-wearing “Yankees.”
19. Conversely, America’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.
20. In 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the United States verses 311.7 million people in 2011.
21. Jefferson’s original draft of the decleration of independence was lost, and the one eventually signed is the “engrossed” document.