Fun Facts About the 4th of Julyby Elizabeth MacDonald
Red, white, and blue family pictures, sparklers, fireworks, and bbqs – that is what our children think the 4th of July is all about. But it's never too early to start teaching them about the history of our country.
Fun Facts About The 4th of July
The 4th of July is known as Independence Day! It is the ‘Birthday’ of the United States of America. July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed declaring the 13 colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place on July 8, 1776, but the following year (and every year since) it was celebrated on the anniversary of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Constitutional Congress.
- The Declaration of Independence was written by our Founding Fathers.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft, and John Adams was the first to edit it. Followed by Benjamin Franklin. Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston also took part on creating the finished document.
- The Declaration of Independence was actually a letter to King George that had been written on July 2 by Thomas Jefferson. It was a formal explanation of why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain. It was meant to justify a revolt against the British, with a list of charges against the British king.
- The Declaration of Independence was rewritten 47 times before independence was declared.
- Independence was declared on July 2, 1776.
- John Hancock was the first to sign the declaration on July 4, 1776.
- 56 men signed the document: 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and large plantation owners. They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured!
- Before fireworks were invented, citizens placed candles in their windows, lit large bonfires, and shot cannons over the water to celebrate.
- Fireworks were made in China as early as the 12th Century. The Chinese originally used them for war rockets and explosives.
- Festivities also included veterans of the Revolutionary War telling stories and celebrating their victory, followed by a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
- It was not until 1941 that the 4th of July was recognized as a legal holiday.
The 13 colonies were:
Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia
- Our American flag was sewn by Betsy Ross.
- George Washington wanted the flag to have stars with 6 points on them, but Betsy showed him how she could make 5-pointed star instead.
- As more states joined the union, the 13 stars were not a true representation anymore. It was decided in 1818 that on the 4th of July after a state joined, a star would be added to the flag. The original 13 colonies would be represented by 13 stripes alternating in red and white.
- Red stands for VICTORY, Hardiness and Courage
- White stands for PURITY and Innocence
- Blue stands for LOYALTY, Vigilance, Perseverance, and Justice
- The original Pledge of Allegiance read:
“I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
- The song “America” was first sung on the 4th of July in 1832:
"My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died. Land of the Pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside Let Freedom ring.
My native country, thee Land of the noble free-- Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and temple hills; My heart with rapture thrills Like that above"