An official US holiday (and a day off from work!) July 4th is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and family get-togethers, we sometimes forget the history behind the holiday. Here’s a little refresher and some fun facts about the 4th.
- July 4th marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in 1776. The then 13 colonies wanted to be recognized as a separate country from Great Britain.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote the first drafts for the Declaration between June 11 and 28, 1776.
- The decision to declare independence actually took place on July 2, 1776 and some historians believe that is the actual date that should be called Independence Day.
- The Declaration was signed about a year after the colonies began fighting for their independence. This war, the American Revolution, continued until 1783 when the colonies won their freedom.
- The Declaration puts forth the ideals of individual liberty and included a list of grievances against Great Britain that encroached on these liberties to justify the need for independence.
- 1791 is the first recorded use of the term Independence Day.
- Two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th Anniversary of the signing.
- The population in the colonies in July 1776 was estimated to be about 2.5 million. Today, there are almost 320 million people in all 50 states.