Written by andreajn

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

4th of July facts

The 4th of July has always been a day of fireworks and hotdogs. Moreover, it is often portrayed in numerous works of art, from poems to songs and even in films. While it might be one of the most historic events in the U.S., it sometimes loses its real meaning in celebration events. Take a refresher and digest a few interesting 4th of July facts for this year’s Independence Day recognition.

  1. On July 4, 1776, the newly independent U.S. only had a population of 2.5 million.
  2. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men who represented the 13 colonies.
  3. Philadelphia witnessed the very first 4th of July fireworks in 1777.
  4. In the U.S., 33 places bear the word “liberty” in their names.
  5. 11 places have “independence” included in their names.
  1. Americans celebrate their Independence Day every “4th of July.”
  2. It is in commemoration of the Continental Congress’ passage of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  3. At 26 years old, Edward Rutledge was the youngest to sign the document.
  4. Benjamin Franklin was 70 years old when he signed, therefore he is the oldest.
  5. The first newspaper to print the Declaration was the Pennsylvania Evening Post.
  6. In 1870, the U.S. Congress voted to make the 4th of July a federal holiday.
  7. It only became a paid holiday for federal employees in 1941.
  8. Every 4th of July, numerous minor and major league baseball games take place.
  9. When the holiday fell on a Sunday in 1779, the Americans opted to celebrate on the 5th instead.
  10. There are 5 places in the country with “America” in their names.
  1. The Philippines also commemorates their 1946 Independence every 4th of July.
  2. On July 4, 1934, Hungarian-American physicist Leó Szilárd applied for the atomic bomb patent.
  3. Malia Obama, daughter to the 44th U.S. President, was born on the 4th of July of 1998.
  4. “Father of American Music” Stephen Foster was born on July 4, 1826.
  5. John Adams wrote his wife about how Independence Day would go down as a memorable day in American history.
Table of Contents

4th Of July Facts Infographics

4th Of July Facts Infographics

Technically, the declaration of Independence Date should have been July 2.

It is the exact date when Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the declaration underwent consultations under John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, William Livingston, and Roger Sherman.

The Continental Congress did not issue the Declaration of Independence until July 4.

The 13 colonies then severed their political ties to Great Britain. With the newly acclaimed American independence, the colonists confirmed an official alliance with the Government of France. Hence, obtaining assistance in the war against Great Britain.

signing the declaration of independence, 4th of july facts
Image by the US Capitol from Wikimedia

Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in Philadelphia.

While the Constitution gathered signatures in September 1787, the Declaration finished 11 years earlier. Despite being totally separate documents with different meanings, both are important to U.S. history.

The 4th of July did not have common celebrations until after the War of 1812.

It even took over 100 years before the date became a federal holiday in the country. By the 1870s, the holiday became one of the most important nonreligious holidays in the U.S.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passes the resolution of the first official American flag.

It transpired less than a month before the historical 4th of July. “Resolved, that the flag of the United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union is thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation,” the resolution stated.

The U.S. flag has had 27 different official versions.

From the first one in 1777, changes were made due to the addition of stars representing each new state. The 4th of July facts in 1960 got more interesting as the 50th star finished the look. Hawaii just became a state in 1959.

The first signee of the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock.

He was the President of Congress then. Aside from making his mark in the center, Hancock also has the largest signature on the document. Hence, the phrase “put your John Hancock” refers to signing one’s name.

3 of the Founding Fathers and U.S. Presidents died on the 4th of July.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day in 1826. Five years later, James Monroe expired in 1831.

President Zachary Taylor almost became a 4th of July casualty, too.

While he died on July 9, 1850, he had contracted cholera during Independence Day celebrations. Reports tell how President Zachary Taylor drank buckets of water upon going home followed by heaps of fresh fruits with iced milk.

Calvin Coolidge was the only U.S. President born on the 4th of July.

However, his infamous nickname “Silent Cal” seems to be unfitting. He had among the most eloquent voices for the enduring principles cited in the Declaration of Independence.

The Liberty Bell rings 13 times every 4th of July in honor of the 13 original states.

the liberty bell
Image by Diego Delso from Wikimedia

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, descendants of those who signed the Declaration rung the bell until 1846. The ringing stopped in fear of causing damage upon the historic bell.

Fireworks, live gunfire, and military cannons have long been part of the 4th of July.

Until 1815, the U.S. had been in an on and off war with Great Britain despite winning the War of 1812. Celebrations would then serve as morale-boosters foe soldiers and citizens alike.

Into the mid-19th century, artillery salutes and cannon blasts defined 4th of July celebrations.

However, public safety concerns started piling over the leftover weaponry. The display then left the 4th of July celebrations with only fireworks.

The oldest 4th of July parade occurs in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Dating as far back as 1785, Independence Day celebrations in the place now includes a Miss and Little Fourth of July pageant among others.

The first Horribles Parade took place on July 4, 1851, in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Initially, the event was meant to be a comical send-up of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. The “Antique and Horribles Parade” satire the “Ancient and Honorables.”

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show holds the biggest fireworks display of the holiday.

For over 40 years, the Macy’s show has been blasting off more than 75,000 individual shells. It costs the giant retailer brand about $6 million.

4th of July only had less than two-dozen attendees in the 1785 celebration.

Compared today, the Bristol parade celebrations begin as early as June 14 Flag Day. Local events lead up to the 2.5-mile Independence Day parade.

Trump’s 4th of July speech broke decades of tradition.

Not only did he bail on the Independence Day celebration on the Mall in Washington, but he also made a speech as part of his ‘Salute to America.’ He had the aid of a teleprompter for his 45-minute talk about U.S. history and military history. As per his description, it is “the greatest story ever told, the story of America.”

Massachusetts was the first state to recognize the 4th of July as a holiday.

In 1781, the Massachusetts legislature summoned an official state celebration in recognition of the “anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.” This event took place about 90 years before having the 4th of July as a federal holiday.

Denmark hosts the largest 4th of July celebrations outside the U.S.

rebildfesten in 4th of july, 4th of july facts

The country holds an annual event called Rebildfesten (The Rebild Festival). Since 1912, the festival is hosted by the Danish-American Rebild Society (also called the Rebild National Park Society). This Danish-American friendship organization makes true the celebration of the historic ties between Denmark and America.

Chemist Max Henius led the group that came up with the 4th of July celebration.

Henius moved from Denmark to Chicago in 1881, and his group Illinois’ Rebild Society conceived the idea for Rebildfesten. In their home country, the group purchased 140 acres of land which they gave to Denmark’s king.

The place later became the Rebild National Park, Denmark’s first national park.

Moreover, it served as a place for the public celebration of America’s Independence Day, honoring the generosity of the U.S. to Danish emigrants. The property now features a Lincoln log cabinet in dedication to Danish immigrant history.

The 4th of July sales are a more recent thing on the 4th of July facts.

Before the Civil War, it was “unpatriotic” to keep businesses open on Independence Day. Things changed afterward when restaurants and stores started selling red, white, and blue merchandise.

Among the other federal U.S. holidays, the 4th of July generates the highest beer sales.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association reported that the Memorial Day and Labor Day are consecutively the next in highest beer sales behind Independence Day.

In 2018, Americans reportedly spent $6.9 billion on the 4th of July food.

This figure includes picnics and barbecues as per the findings from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

4th of july party, 4th of july facts
Photo from Adobe Stock

Americans consume approximately 150 million hotdogs on every 4th of July.

If laid out horizontally, the hotdogs would stretch from Washington, DC to LA over five times. A trade association and part of the American Meat Institute – the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council released this data.

Since 2014, Americans splurge over $1 billion on fireworks every 4th of July.

It was the first year where the total revenue of the U.S. fireworks industry surpassed $1 billion. The American Pyrotechnics Association released the data on the money spent on display fireworks and consumer fireworks in the U.S.

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