July 4th is a significant day that marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the 2nd Continental Congress. The document, written in 1776, declared the colonies as an independent country no longer under the rule of Great Britain. Enjoy these fascinating facts about the 4th of July, also called Independence Day, easily the most patriotic day of the year:
- Of the four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, only one signed the Declaration of Independence. That was Thomas Jefferson.
- Along with Jefferson, only one other future US Presidents signed the Declaration of Independence. That was John Adams.
- Thomas Jefferson was the lead author of the Declaration at age 33.
- Only John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
- Interestingly, both Adams and Jefferson died on the same day – on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration in 1826.
- Another US president died on July 4. That was James Monroe who died in 1831.
- US President Calvin Coolidge is the only US President born on July 4th in 1872.
- Though never President, Benjamin Franklin, age 70, was the oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence. He and Thomas Jefferson were close friends and had much in common.
- Franklin also worked with John Adams in Paris to obtain support for American independence, sometimes disagreeing about how it should be handled.
- The first Independence Day was celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This also marks the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public who were summoned by the sound of the Liberty Bell. Though John Adams was the first to occupy the Executive Mansion in November 1800, the White House held its first 4th of July celebration in 1801 while Jefferson was President.
On this beloved federal holiday, as we gather for picnics, barbecues, parades, ceremonies, and fireworks to celebrate the birth of American Independence, it’s important to remember the brave men who promoted the cause of freedom and liberty. It’s equally important to reflect on the most quoted line of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”