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4th of July, US Independence Day: Interesting Facts at Glance

John Adams signing the Declaration of Indepence.

John Adams signing the Declaration of Indepence.

On 4th of July, every year, the US celebrates its Independence Day with greater national unity marked by functions, display of fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, discount sales, concerts and of course, baseball games.

The New York City leads others in displaying the largest fireworks in the country, followed Chicago on Lake Michigan, San Diego over Mission Bay, Boston on the Charles River, St. Louis on the Mississippi River, San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay and the National Mall in the capital, Washington, DC.

Political speeches invariably recall the contribution made by founding fathers — George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, James Monroe, Alexander Hamilton and others on 4th July. It was on the same day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was adopted creating the United States of America. Hence, the celebrations galore across the US.

Here are some interesting facts about the Fourth of July Independence Day:

The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, who went on to become the third President of US. The words “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776,” were written on the back of the Declaration.

When it was opened for signatures, only 2 persons, John Hancock and Charles Thompson, signed it immediately on July 4th 1776, while other delegates took time and signed on Aug. 2. In fact, some dignitaries — Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton — signed the Declaration much later, while John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston never signed it at all.

Jefferson, who drafted the original declaration, later changed the wording from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness.” Mysteriously, the original draft of the Declaration by Jefferson was lost, and an “engrossed’ document was later signed and the printed version of the Declaration, known as the Dunlap Broadside, was made available. It was first printed in “The Pennsylvania Evening Post” newspaper.

The news of independence was opposed in the city of New York and riots marked the occasion when the news reached five days later on July 9.

Apart from Thomas Jefferson, John Adams was the only other signatory who went on to become the President of the United States later. Ironic but both of them died on the same day, July 4, 1826 when the nation marked its 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

July 4 became an official holiday in 1870 and the US had merely 2.5 million (25 lakhs) population then.

In 1777, the tradition of fireworks began in Philadelphia when the poem written by Francis Scott Key titled “Star Spangled Banner” was made national anthem. The youngest delegate to sign the declaration was Edward Rutledge, 26 and the oldest was Benjamin Franklin, 70.

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