5 Crazy Facts about the Fourth of July

(Former President Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter, Malia, watching fireworks, July 4, 2014.)

1. Happy...July 2nd!!!

America’s Independence from Great Britain was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2nd. In fact, founding father and future president John Adams was certain July 2nd would go down in history as the date Americans celebrated. He was wrong.

Instead, July 4th would be the date to live on, thanks to a little document called the Declaration of Independence. It was on July 4th that this important document was officially adopted, thereby giving the date of the document’s adoption rather than the date of the actual declaration more fame. Sorry, John.

 

2. The Death of 3 Presidents

July 4th isn’t just the day America declared her independence from Great Britain. It’s also the day John Adams died. And Thomas Jefferson. Oh yeah, and James Monroe. 

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died literally on the same day: July 4th, 1826. Now if that wasn’t enough of a coincidence that two founding fathers who birthed the Declaration of Independence would die on the anniversary of that Declaration, how about the fact it was on the 50th anniversary?! That’s right. They both passed away on America’s 50th birthday. 

5th President James Monroe, the president who presided over the “Era of Good Feelings”, would pass away 5 years later, on July 4th, 1831. He apparently didn’t want to steal their thunder. 

 

3. And the Birth of One

Presidents didn’t just die on the 4th. One was also born on the 4th. President Calvin Coolidge, “Silent Cal” who commanded the White House after Warren G. Harding’s death, was born on July 4th, 1872. He would be President throughout most of the roaring 20s, when Americans saw incredible prosperity before the devastating Crash of 1929. Happy Birthday, President Coolidge! This firework is for you!

 

4. Happy...August 2nd!!!

Ok, back to the Declaration of Independence. Only two men actually signed the Declaration on July 4th: Charles Thomson and John Hancock. The official signing didn’t begin until August 2nd. Should we create another Independence Day for August 2nd? We’re totally okay with adding another federal holiday. 

 

5. It Took Nearly 100 Years for July 4th to Become a National Holiday

And, speaking of holidays, July 4th wasn’t declared a national holiday until 1870, during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. And it wasn’t until 1938, under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, that Congress decided it should be a paid national holiday. Things do move slowly, sometimes. But we’re glad we have the day off! Thanks, America! Happy Birthday!!