1. Adoption of the Declaration of Independence
Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on the 4th of July. Instead, it was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on that day in 1776. The actual signing took place on August 2nd of the same year.
2. The First Independence Day Celebrations
The first celebrations of Independence Day occurred even before the Revolutionary War had officially ended. In 1777, the city of Philadelphia commemorated the 4th of July with parades, bonfires, and fireworks. This tradition later spread to other cities and became a national celebration.
3. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson's Coincidental Deaths
Two of the most prominent Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the same day—July 4th, 1826. Coincidentally, it was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
4. Early Firework Alternatives
While fireworks are a staple of modern 4th of July celebrations, early Americans didn't have access to the pyrotechnics we know today. Instead, they used alternatives such as firing cannons, muskets, and lighting bonfires to create a festive atmosphere.
5. The Liberty Bell's Silent Celebration
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a symbol of American independence, hasn't been rung to celebrate the 4th of July since 1846. The bell has a famous crack and is now preserved as a historic artifact. Instead, it is symbolically tapped 13 times to represent the original 13 colonies on special occasions.