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The Geekiest Things You Didn't Know About the Fourth of July

The Geekiest Things You Didn't Know About the Fourth of July

By Chris Laker

If you live in the United States the Fourth of July is a pretty great holiday. It's about liberty, fireworks, and hotdogs. But are we celebrating the wrong day? The resolution of independence was approved on July 2, 1776 in a closed session of congress. The final text was approved a couple days later on the fourth. That's sort of like we celebrated the day we came home from the hospital as our birthdays. Oh, and it wasn't even signed until August 2, 1776. What day is the most important?

July second seemed like a big deal at the time, at least to John Adams. Future President Adams wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” WRONG! He must have felt real silly at the first celebration of the Fourth of July one year later in Philadelphia. John Adams was right to not like celebrating on July 4th since it was the day he would eventually die on. Weirdly enough both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th Independence Day in 1826.

The first Independence Day celebration in 1777 included a parade, cannon shots, fireworks and a hot dog eating contest. Just kiddin'! The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest didn't get started for another 196 years in 1972. Why did it take so long? You can't rush progress. The Fourth is the big hot dog day. Americans eat over 155 million on Independence Day. That's a lot of whatever that meat is.

Congress first established the Fourth of July as a national holiday, Independence Day, in 1870 but it was an unpaid holiday for federal employees. What? A non-paid holiday is like getting fired for 24 hours. Congress changed Independence Day to a paid holiday for federal workers in 1941.

If you are looking at colleges you might want to know that seven of the signers of the Declaration of Independence went to Harvard, four went to Yale, four to William & Mary, and Princeton had three. None went to community college so those Associates degrees do have limits. Don't worry, you can always transfer.

The youngest person to sign the Declaration of Independence was 27, Thomas Lynch, Jr. The average age was 45 but with all the powdered wigs everybody looked 88.

So you obviously know that the United States declared it's independence from from England in 1776 right? Then you're ahead of 42% of Americans. According to a Marist poll anyway. This poll conducted in 2011 found that only 58% of residents knew that the USA declared its independence in 1776. 26% were unsure, and 16% mentioned another date. Some replied, "I wasn't even born yet dude." That same poll found that 74% knew that the United States declared independence from England, 20% weren't sure who, and 6% mentioned another country. "We declared our independence from...uh...Canada?"

The U.S. isn't the only country that celebrates 7/4. The Fourth of July is also a holiday in Rwanda known as Liberation Day and in the Philippines, 7/4 is Republic Day. So, happy Independence/Liberation/Republic Day! Or, Happy Ind-erat-lic!

How many hotdogs did you eat today?

Tags: history, princeton, the declaration of independence, 4th of july, independence day, harvard

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