-There are lots of fun facts about the celebration of Fourth of July. Originally, it had been referred to as “Independence Day.” The Fourth of July celebration is unique to the United States as the day colonies declared independence from the English monarchy.-The actual Declaration of Independence occurred two days earlier on July 2, 1776 when independence took place. The Continental Congress accepted Thomas Jefferson’s hand written Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, marking the most famous colonial action in the new country’s history. Finally, colonies were free of their ties to the British monarchy and taxation without representation.Signers of the Declaration of Independence
-There actually is an eerie connection to two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day on July 4th in 1826.
-One of the original signers, Richard Henry Lee, presented the motion for Independence. Richard Stockton of New Jersey from New Jersey recanted his approval of Independence. Of the 13 colonies, 12 voted to approve Lee’s motion.
-The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, at age 70 and the youngest was a South Carolina lawyer Edward Rutledge, age 26. There were a total of 56 signers of which eight were born in England.
The First Independence Day
-The first actual celebration of Independence took place in Philadelphia July 4, 1777. The colonies were in the midst of the Revolutionary War at the time.
-That first commemorative day in Philadelphia, John Adams wanted colonists to be reminded of their new country’s independence. Thus, fireworks displays celebrated this momentous event in the early history of the United States. Thanks to John Adams, Boston followed suit and also held fireworks displays on July 4, 1777. Today, New York City has the distinction of having the biggest fireworks displays.
-For many Americans today, the sight of the night skies alit with thousands of fireworks displays has come to bring home the hard won independence and resulting freedoms they now enjoy.
-The history of Fourth of July is additionally memorialized by the statue of Thomas Jefferson. Note that in his hand he holds a tablet with the words, “July” and the Roman numerals II for July 2nd and the year 1777, also in Roman numerals.
-One of the signers of Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, an American patriot, statesman and merchant, is the inspiration for the word “signer,” as in “put your John Hancock” on the dotted line.”
-The Fourth of July wasn’t an official holiday until 1870 when the U.S. government began designation official government holidays that year.
Fourth of July Cook Outs and Barbecues
-The history of Fourth of July cook outs and barbecues is much briefer. Early colonists always cooked their foods over open flames outdoors until around the early 1800s when indoor cooking hearths began to be more convenient.
-Colonials enjoyed celebrating events as we do today with family and friends gathered around for various holidays, including Fourth of July. We have the people of the West Indies to thank for barbecues. The word for barbecue in their language is “barbacoa.”
-For local politicians of the 1800s and early 1900s, Fourth of July was an excellent time for town parades and barbecues, followed by fireworks displays for which their constituents were immensely appreciative. These events served as a great reminder on Election Day of which politicians were generous to constituents.
Modern vs. Colonial Fourth of July
-Traditions regarding Fourth of July hold fast. Yankee Doodle Dandies all love to decorate in red, white and blue festoons, flowers and proudly fly Old Glory. The cost of Fourth of July celebrations exceeds $1 billion for beer and food.