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Exploring July 4th’s Rich History with Some Fascinating Facts

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July 4, 1776 – Independence Day is a date that holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans. It represents a pivotal moment in American history, a day when we commemorate the nation’s freedom and independence.

In this blog, we want to look beyond the fireworks and festivities and share some intriguing facts and trivia about this momentous day. We found many interesting details about the history and traditions of Independence Day that we are sure you’ll find fascinating. So get ready for some fascinating facts that will deepen your appreciation for July 4!

The Continental Congress Vote for Independence was on July 2, 1776

continental congress voteThe Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4th, 1776. Although the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration on that day, the majority of the signatories put their names to the document on August 2nd, 1776. After voting for independence on July 2, the Continental Congress spent two days making edits to the proposed draft, leading to the finalization of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.

John Hancock’s Signature was the First and Largest Signature

Of the 56 signatures of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, one name stands out – John Hancock. His position as President of the Second Continental Congress granted him a notable role as the first to sign the declaration. He boldly inscribed his name at the center of the document in prominent letters. 

This distinctive signature became so iconic that it birthed the popular phrase “put your John Hancock” as a reference to signing your name.

Hot Dogs and Barbecues

contest 1The 4th of July has also become synonymous with delicious outdoor grilling, particularly hot dogs. According to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (NHDSC), Americans consume an estimated 150 million hot dogs over this holiday.

One of the most unusual July 4 traditions is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held in Coney Island, New York. Contestants compete to see who can consume the most hot dogs and buns in a set amount of time. The current record is 76 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes, held by the reigning champion Joey Chestnut.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

One remarkable fact about July 4 is that two former U.S. presidents and key figures involved in drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence died on the same day. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration! 

They are not the only presidents to have passed away on the Fourth of July.

 James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president, also departed on this historic date a few years later, on July 4, 1831. What a striking and extraordinary coincidence, right?

Only 26 Copies of the Dunlap Broadside Remain

Following Congress’s approval of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, it was sent to a printer named John Dunlap to reproduce the document. Approximately 200 copies, known as the Dunlap Broadside, were printed, each bearing the name of John Hancock at the bottom. 

Remarkably, today, only 26 copies of this significant piece of American history have survived, providing us with tangible connections to the birth of the nation.

The American Flag

american flagThe American flag is easily recognized with its red, white, and blue design with 50 stars, But did you know that flag has been modified 27 times since its inception in 1776? The current flag’s 50 stars represent the nation’s 50 states, while the 13 stripes symbolize the original 13 colonies.

Though not officially confirmed, there is a long-standing belief that Betsy Ross, an American upholsterer was the first person to sew the American flag.

We hope these fascinating facts have deepened your appreciation for the foundations of American independence. July 4 reminds us of the enduring spirit and resilience that defines the United States as a nation. We hope you all celebrated the 4th of July with the ones you love the most!

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