While we’ve all taken some type of American History course at sometime in our lives, we maybe surprised to learn that one of our favorite national holidays might have untrue legends attached to it. For instance, many believe the separation of the U.S. from Britain occurred on July 4th, 1776. In fact, the actual separation of the U.S. from Britain occurred on July 2, 1776. On this day, the Second Continental Congress (a convention with delegates from all the original 13 colonies) approved by vote, a resolution of independence from Britain (also known as The Lee Resolution).
Soon after, the Declaration of Independence was signed. While many believe that this document was officially signed on July 4th 1776, this too isn’t exactly true. According to the book, Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas by Carl Becker, most of the delegates didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence until August 2, 1776. Yet, despite these two facts, for centuries, Independence Day has been celebrated on July 4th. Why?
The answer is very simple. Congress didn’t approve the document that would be the Declaration of Independence until July 4th 1776. It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress decided to make Independence Day a federal holiday for federal employees.
Other Interesting Facts
There are other interesting facts about and in honor of Independence Day.
· On its’ 50th anniversary, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (signers of the Declaration of Independence) passed away in death.
· In order to commemorate Independence Day, both Benjamin Franklin and John Adams held a dinner for Americans that were “in and about Paris, [France]” at the time.
· There was an estimate of 2.5 million people in America on July 4, 1776. Last year, the population was 304 million people.
· There are 31 places in the nation today with the name “Liberty” attached to it.
· There are nine locations in the United States that have adopted the name “Freedom”; Freedom, California has the largest population of these nine locations with a population estimate of 6,000 residents.
· This year, July 4th falls on a Saturday. This means, that for federal employees who are observing the holiday, Friday, July 3rd will be the day of observance.
· Had July 4th fallen on a Sunday, employees would have Monday off instead. The most recent July 4th that fell on a Sunday occurred in 1999.
-Facts taken from the census bureau website and from James R. Heintze’s website, The Fourth of July Celebrations Database
Enjoy the Day
Whether you take advantage of celebrating this holiday by hosting a family and friends barbeque, visiting historical places, or retail therapy (otherwise known as shopping), why not take the time to discuss some of these interesting facts with you friends and family? We are sure they would be just as surprised as you are by the information!