4th of July: Not So Trivial Pursuit

As Americans, we proudly gather each 4th of July to celebrate our country’s hard-fought independence. Traditionally, the 4th is honored with fireworks, barbeques, and of course plenty of red, white, and blue decorations to show your pride. This year at Independence Bunting, we want to help honor those that gave us our freedom with a special article about the important history and trivia you may not know surrounds this holiday.

9 Trivia Facts for Your 4th

You've celebrated the 4th of July every year of your life so you know all about it, right? Well, here are nine 4th of July facts you probably never knew.

  1. The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776 by all 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress. On July 2, 1776, the Congress accepted a resolution from Richard Henry Lee of Virginia resolving that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, another Virginian. Only John Hancock, the president of the Congress and Charles Thompson, its secretary, signed Jefferson’s handwritten draft that day. The remaining delegates signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776, thus making it official.
  2. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on the 1776 version of a laptop. It was a little writing desk that he held in his lap. In those days, official documents took considerably more time than nowadays because every new draft had to be rewritten from scratch. Thanks to modern technology, it can be easily taken for granted how much time and attention it took to get the declaration just right. Additionally, with those kinds of paper trails, we can catch a glimpse for what might have been. For example, Jefferson originally wrote “the pursuit of property,” but then changed it to “the pursuit of liberty” just before handing in his final draft to the Continental Congress.
  3. The average age of the signers was 45; Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at age 70 and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26. Eight of the 56 signers were born in Britain. With such a large age gap, it’s clear the feelings of discontentment across the colonies were truly felt by a wide margin of people.
  4. The printed version of the Declaration was called the Dunlap Broadside. It was named after John Dunlap of Philadelphia, the man responsible for printing the original two hundred copies on the night of July 4th, 1776. Of the 200 printed, only 25 have been accounted for. In 1989, the 25th copy was found hidden in a framed painting purchased by a flea market shopper for just four dollars. After being authenticated, it was sold in an online auction for over $8 million. 21 of the 25 copies are held in universities, libraries, and museums across the country for preservation.
  5. There are quite a few important presidential dates associated with the 4th of July. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only two signers to become president, numbers two and three respectively. They both died on July 4, 1826, America’s 50th birthday anniversary. James Monroe, our fifth president, died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, the Liberty Bell had nothing to do with the 4th of July. It was rung on July 8, 1776 to summon Philadelphians to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. It wasn’t called The Liberty Bell until the 1830s when it also got its famous crack. It is tapped (not rung) 13 times every year on the 4th of July to symbolize the original 13 Colonies.
  7. The modern day flag is filled with references to the brave patriots that took a stand on July 4th 1776; the red color in our flag represents bravery and valor, the white represents purity, and the blue represents loyalty. The 13 stripes represent the 13 Colonies. The 13 stars of the original flag also represented the 13 Colonies and positioned in a circle to represent equality among the colonies. Today’s 50 stars represent the 50 states.
  8. The first official 4th of July celebration occurred during the Revolutionary War in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1777 while Congress was still heavily involved in the war effort. Every year since, Philadelphia’s 4th of July celebration has drawn some of the largest crowds in the country as countless flock to a city considered the birthplace of liberty.
  9. The tradition of celebrating the 4th with fireworks was an idea by none other than John Adams. In a famous letter to his wife, John Adams penned:
    • "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

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Whether you’re planning or participating in a 4th of July celebration, it’s important to understand the history of the holiday so you can truly appreciate it. To show your patriotism, Independence Bunting offers quality 4th of July decorations in various styles and sizes, as well as beautiful material for other holidays year round. As always, all Independence Bunting products are proudly made in the USA!

Explore our website or give us a call directly 1-800-995-9129 for any questions or to place an order.