Happy Birthday America! This year marks the 243rd year since we won our independence from the British in 1776. Traditionally, Fourth of July is a day that we celebrate by attending parades, watching fireworks, and gathering with family and friends. Most of the facts that we know about this cherished American holiday dedicated to patriotism has been handed-down through grade school history books. In fact, there’s quite a bit that we probably don’t know. For a patriotic salute to our country’s history, we compiled a list of facts and bits of trivia for you to share at this year’s Fourth of July barbecue. To start the conversation, start with the facts listed below.
Did you know?
The official date of Independence Day is actually July 2. The discrepancy was discovered in a letter John Adams wrote to his wife. When writing home Adams citied July 2 as the day of great historical significance because that’s when Congress actually ruled in favor of independence. However, it was two days later on July 4 that Congress accepted Thomas Jefferson’s declaration. The two-day difference didn’t seem to matter much to Americans at the time. They readily accepted July 4 as the official day of their independence from British rule.
There are eight founding fathers. The foundation of our nation’s democracy is attributed to a group of men with different personalities and backgrounds. Collectively, it was their common goal that united them. The eight official founding fathers of our nation are George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Jay.
Two original founding fathers died on the same day. In 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. Coincidentally, it was on July 4. President James Monroe, another founding father, also died on the July 4, however it was in 1831.
The U.S. National Archives houses the Declaration of Independence. What many people don’t know is that Thomas Jefferson misplaced the original draft of the document. The engrossed signed document that replaced it is deemed as the original. Its permanent home is on the upper level of the museum in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by only two men. History books tell us that John Hancock signed the most important document in our country’s history on July 4, 1776. The other man signing it on that day was Charles Thomas, secretary of the Congress. The other 54 men representing the original 13 colonies didn’t sign it until almost one month later. Seven of those signatures were at the hand of Harvard graduates.
The first flag’s stars were arranged in a circle to make the colonies appear equal. Historically, the first American Flag didn’t appear on the scene until almost a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was on June 14, 1777 when the Continental Congress passed an act establishing the flag. And guidelines for its appearance--thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation. President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day on August 3, 1949.
The Declaration of Independence was written by a committee. Today, we credit Thomas Jefferson as the author. However, he didn’t do it alone. Along with Jefferson the draft was a team effort that also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. Jefferson’s acute wordsmithing abilities made him the obvious choice for the job.
This Fourth of July for a celebration worthy of our Founding Fathers shop Breed & Company for all your barbecue accessories and table necessities. For perfectly grilled meats, refreshing beverages, and a star-spangled table check out our line of barbecue grills, outdoor barware, and tablescape décor. Our Fourth of July Collection features red, white and everything blue including paper cocktail and lunch napkins, dinner and deserts plates, and an Americana table runner. Visit our four Austin Area locations or save some time and shop online.