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Some Fun Facts About America's Birthday

July 4, 2014 by John Rook

We know the Fourth of July celebrates the adoption of America's Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. We know that, today, the nation celebrates the Fourth with fireworks, patriotic music, and family barbecues.
However, there's a lot more to the Fourth of July than we might otherwise know.
*In 1776, upon the signing of the Declaration, the American Colonies, which would from that point forward be called states, had a combined population of approximately 2.5 million people. Put another way, the Declaration technically freed the same amount of people that live the in the Greater Cleveland area of Ohio.
*While we celebrate the Fourth of July each year, it might be historically more accurate to celebrate on August 2. On July 4, 1776, only two members of the Continental Congress had actually signed the document. The majority of the other Founders put their name to paper on August 2, 1776.
For the record, John Adams believed that the country should celebrate July 2 as a holiday, since it marked when the official vote on the Declaration was taken.
*Some may know the famous story of how two of the signers of the Declaration and eventual Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the Fourth of July, mere hours apart. However, they were not the only presidents to die on July 4. Another Founder, James Madison, an author of the nation's Constitution, also died on the holiday.The only president born on the Fourth? Calvin Coolidge, in 1872.
*While the nation informally celebrated the Fourth of July every year since the founding of the country, it wasn't made a national holiday until 1870, along with Christmas, and was not a legal federal holiday until 1938.
*Many Americans still confuse the first line of the Constitution—"We the People"—as being the opening to the Declaration. In fact, the opening sentence of the Declaration is much longer and harder to memorize: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
*Food has become a staple of every American Fourth of July tradition, and it's estimated that over 100 million hot dogs are consumed by revelers each year. However, legend has it that, on the first July 4, John and Abigail Adams shared a very different celebratory meal, which included turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July, everyone ... even if it doesn't involve a piping-hot bowl of turtle soup.

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