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4th Of July Facts To Learn, Share, & Talk About
4th of July, the independence day of the United States of America, is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm across the country. It is a day dedicated to U.S. citizens and their culture, achievements, and pride. On this day in 1776, the representatives of 13 colonies unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence (as opposed to many people’s belief that they adopted it on July 4th). Thomas Jefferson wrote it formally and signed it on July 4th by 56 delegates of the Continental Congress. Since then, 4th Of July has been commemorated as one of the most important days in American history
As you celebrate 4th of July, and no doubt talks with friends and family at dinner or a gathering, everyone loves to learn something new and share some facts. Sometimes the exchange even leads to further conversation. Here are some things you should know about America’s independence day and what it means.
The Declaration Of Independence Wasn’t Signed On 4th Of July
- The Declaration of Independence was actually signed on August 2, 1776, by members of the Second Continental Congress.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote one of several drafts that were created and signed by a committee on July 2nd.
- The document was not formally completed until August 2nd; this date is considered the true birthday of the United States of America.
- Fifty-six men signed the Declaration, including John Hancock (known for his large signature). He made his mark on July 4th, but it was just to signify that he’d read it; formal signing took place later in August.
Benjamin Franklin Proposed Turkey As America’s National Bird
From 1776 to 1782, the American Congress met annually and elected a president until a permanent position was established. John Hanson was the first president elected under the Articles of Confederation, but he had no interaction with foreign powers or the domestic military. In short, he wasn’t much of a leader—but there is one interesting fact about his presidency that gained him some cultural significance in United States history: on November 26th, 1782, Hanson declared the turkey to be America’s national bird.
The bald eagle was originally chosen as America’s national symbol due to its abundance in the country. But its reputation as a scavenger later led Benjamin Franklin to propose an alternative: “For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among Men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor and often very lousy.” As an alternative choice for America’s national symbol, Franklin proposed making “the turkey hen” our bird instead. He claimed it possessed more respectable qualities: “more honest than [the eagle], as well as braver… she never tears a lamb in pieces; nor does she pick up her living by unfair gaming.”
Franklin’s proposal was never accepted at large by Congress. However, his reasoning speaks well for those who seek political benefit from being friendly rather than domineering over others (and considering how many turkeys are eaten around Thanksgiving time every year—including by Americans today—I’d say Mr. Franklin has won this round).
There Are Only 9 Legal Fireworks States In America
While you may have always known that people in your state don’t carry or use fireworks, chances are you didn’t know that there are only 9 states in the US where they are legal. There are only a handful of states where fireworks can legally be used without a permit or license. Those states include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
You may ask yourself how this is possible if you live anywhere else in the United States because you can see fireworks shooting off every year during Fourth of July celebrations. Well along with these 11 states there are certain cities within other states where it is legal to use them as well including Las Vegas and Lake Havasu City (Arizona), Boston (Massachusetts), Detroit (Michigan), and Minneapolis (Minnesota), Atlantic City (New Jersey). In Pennsylvania, there are no statewide regulations on selling and using consumer-grade fireworks but local laws may differ from city to city.
The remaining 39 states require users to obtain a permit for the year before being able to shoot off anything that explodes or ascends like rockets or roman candles. You will not be able to get away with lighting sparklers unless they do not explode or ascend into the air when lit….
‘Yankee Doodle’ Was A British Song Used To Mock The Americans
As it turns out, the song “Yankee Doodle” — which is almost always played at Fourth of July parades and celebrations — was actually a British song used to mock the Americans. According to History.com, the song was sung by British military officers to make fun of the disorganized colonists and their “hick” clothes during the French and Indian War in 1755. (The word “doodle” itself was slang for a simpleton.) The phrase “stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni” refers to a trend among young British men who wore fancy clothes and hairstyles popularized by Italian fashion houses (known as Macaroni Clubs). Two versions of these lyrics still exist, but this one is perhaps more well-known:
Fireworks Are Illegal In New York City And Washington, D.C
- The only two major cities in the U.S. that ban fireworks are New York City and Washington, D.C. According to New York Magazine, the reasoning behind this is due to fire hazards and dangers associated with the explosives. Though it’s illegal, many still try to smuggle in fireworks from nearby states for a show anyway — it just means you have to be a little more discreet about your sparkler-waving and pop-rock-setting off than anywhere else… or you know, just go out there where they’re legal (like New Jersey) and celebrate your patriotism right!
John Adams Believed That July 2nd Should Be The Celebration Day Because It Was The Day That Congress Actually Voted For Independence
While we can’t say for sure exactly how the holiday came to be celebrated on July 4th, we do know that John Adams believed that July 2nd should actually have been the celebrated date.
Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail in 1776 saying: “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
Abigail replied: “But, my dear soul! How many seen years have passed and gone and disappeared forever before you were born! And must one-fourth part of another century pass away before we celebrate an anniversary which I hope will fill America with Joy?”
She was obviously referring to how far away 50 years seemed at the time. Still, sense that she’s not quite sure about this whole holiday idea? She goes on:
“You may think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. –I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.–Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light & Glory. I can see that The End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Fourth Of July Celebrations Actually Pre-Date American Independence
- Celebrations began in 1777, just one year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and before the United States was actually a country. Rather than celebrating the declaration itself, these celebrations were held to mark the first anniversary of independence. Since then, July 4 has been celebrated every single year.
- Philadelphia had an official celebration in 1777. On July 8, 13 cannons were fired and there was a parade that featured plenty of music, as well as troops marching through town with muskets and drums. Boston held its own celebration two years later on July 18; it featured bonfires and fireworks. In New York City in 1783, troops gathered for prayers and a celebratory feast that included beer, wine, and whiskey (which sounds like my kind of holiday).
New York Was The First State To Officially Recognize The Fourth Of July As A Holiday
New York was the first state to recognize independence. In fact, in 1777, it celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks and the ringing of bells. New York officially recognized the Fourth of July as a holiday in 1781 and has since continued its tradition of celebrating on this day—most recently through events such as an annual hot dog eating competition and the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show (which is famous for being one of the largest shows in the country).
Every Fourth Of July Since 1986, Chicago Has Hosted Its Own Tradition Called ‘Taste Of Chicago’
Every Fourth of July since 1986, Chicago has hosted its own tradition called “Taste of Chicago.” This food festival is held in Grant Park and draws over 3 million visitors every year. It’s the largest food festival in the world… or it was until it was canceled for 2020 because of COVID-19.
The event features booths from over 70 restaurants from across Chicago and around the world. Some booths are run by well-known local chefs, while others come from different states and countries. The event usually takes place over five days and includes live music, art displays, family activities… you name it!
During Taste of Chicago, you can try dishes like deep-dish pizza, hot dogs with all kinds of toppings (or no toppings at all), sausages with peppers and onions, Southern fried chicken, fresh fried shrimp… basically anything your heart desires! In fact, the only thing you won’t find at Taste of Chicago is alcohol. That said… when it comes to eating a ton of delicious foods from around the world in a beautiful outdoor setting with people who love to eat as much as you do? You really won’t miss a drink.
Annapolis, Maryland, Is Home To America’s Oldest And Largest Celebration — It Takes Place Over Two Weeks
- Annapolis, Maryland, is home to America’s oldest and largest Fourth of July celebration.
- The celebrations in Annapolis are a two-week affair that starts on June 29 and concludes on the Independence Day weekend.
- It’s run by the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce and includes over 100 events, which include performances by the United States Naval Academy Band.
Learn more about one of America’s most beloved holidays.
- We may be celebrating the 4th of July this year, but in 1776 we were celebrating the 2nd of July. The 4th is not the anniversary of when Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, but rather it marks the day that John Hancock, President of Congress at that time, signed the paper that was presented to Congress on July 2nd.
- Did you know that founding father John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail and predicted that future Americans would count their independence “with pomp and parade” on this day? What he didn’t realize was just how right he was!
4th Of July Gifts Ideas
We’re not saying that you have to buy a gift for everyone on your list in order to celebrate the Fourth of July. However, if you are looking for a way to show your appreciation this holiday, go for it! It can be tricky to figure out exactly what gifts are appropriate for the Fourth of July—you don’t want to give something too generic or too corny. We’ve got some ideas that will help you find gifts that are perfect for this patriotic holiday.
Before you start shopping, consider who you’re giving a gift to and why. Do they live close by? Will they be celebrating with you? If they do, make sure that the gift isn’t going to get in the way of your fun. Don’t go overboard when choosing a present; instead opt for something small but thoughtful. For example, if you’re having a backyard barbecue and want to give each guest something special in honor of the day, fill a mason jar with homemade lemonade and tie a bow around it—it’s simple but sweet!
For those who aren’t coming over but who will still be spending time with family, think about what kind of activities they’ll be doing on Independence Day. If they have children, consider buying them an American flag or American.
Around the 4th of July, there are 4th Of July Gifts Ideas for everyone! You can give to your friends and family, or even to your co-workers. Here are our top 5 picks:
- 1) A patriotic t-shirt – There’s nothing that says “Happy Birthday USA!” like a good old-fashioned patriotic tee.
- 2) A flag – Flags are the perfect way to show off your American pride on Independence Day. Whether you’re waving it in front of your house or hanging it from the porch railing, it’s sure to make an impact.
- 3) Fireworks – If you’re looking for something fun and loud, fireworks are perfect! They’re not only a great way to celebrate freedom but they also give us some much-needed entertainment during this time of year when we’re all stuck at home due to COVID-19 (COVID-19).
- 4) BBQ supplies – Nothing screams summer like some good ol’ fashion barbecue! Grab some ribs and corn on the cob for yourself or a friend who loves grilled food.
- 5) A gift card – A gift card is always appreciated. It’s easy to buy online so you don’t even have to leave your house. What could be better than that?