HISTORY Magazine explains:
July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence…So, Happy Birthday, America!! Celebrate! I, in my turn, would like to also bring you 3 little-known facts about the Fourth of July that you may find amusing:
1. Contrary to how it is often portrayed in books, movies, and TV shows, the signing was not a ceremonial signing in the sense that we think of it as being. Not all of the delegates who were present at the final approval signed the document and of the signatories that appear, not all of them were present nor were all of them delegates at the time of final approval. Of the roughly fifty delegates who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776, eight never signed the Declaration: John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, and Henry Wisner. Additionally, eight men who signed the Declaration did not takes seats in Congress until after July 4… [source]
2. Three U.S. presidents, who were all the Founding Fathers of the United States, died on July 4. Two of them, good friends John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. Five years later another Founding Father passed away on this day. It was president James Monroe who died on July 4, 1831.
3. Fireworks have been an integral part of the Independence Day celebrations since 1770s. In a letter to his wife John Adams, who first proposed the idea of declaring independence from England, wrote: “Ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”. In late 1700s, however, fireworks were called “rockets”. Hence, “And the Rockets’ Red Glare…” line in the U.S. national anthem.Once again, Happy Birthday, America!!]]>