4 Things You May Not Know About Independence Day

Hopefully, every American knows that the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776 and we celebrate it because it marks the legal separation of the original Thirteen American colonies from Great Britain.

Things you may or may not know:

1. Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. 

Can you imagine being the author of a document that would go on to serve as the bedrock of a nation?  . . .Hearing something like, “Hey Tom, think you could write up something about all this? And try to keep it down to a page, okay?”

2. John Adams originally thought the 2nd of July would be the big day.

He writes to his wife, Abigail (I can’t help picturing them as Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney since watching the John Adams min-series):

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It 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.”  (“Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, ‘Had a Declaration…’”. Adams Family Papers. Massachusetts Historical Society.) He got the momentous occasion right, just not the exact date.

3. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the 4th of July in 1826—on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

These two men were the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to become President of the United States. They both died on the 4th of July—a day that obviously had very personal significance for each–and in the same year. Maybe they said, “Okay, got our country to 50. Now, it’s time to rest. I’ve done my bit.”

4. The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence is now considered to be a major statement on Human Rights cited the world over.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Inspiring words that we too often take for granted. Words that serve as a foundation for not only a country, but a way to live. Today, I want to really think about them.

Whether you’re American or not, I hope we all take the above words from the Declaration to heart. Happy 4th everybody.

Question: Which of the above four things did you know? Anything you want to add?

Thanks to Wikipedia for providing this great info on our nation’s foundation.

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7 comments on “4 Things You May Not Know About Independence Day

  1. Marney, Thanks for making us pause and think back (even for just a minute) to a time when the future (and also the beginning!) of our Nation was so uncertain and at great risk. I think the Founding Fathers were some of the true heroes that we so often forget about in favor of professional athletes and movie stars, etc. The Founding Fathers (and many others like them throughout history) are truly the ones we should emulate and look up to as role models. Their God centered vision for this Nation and their Faith are absolutely incredible. Our Nation is now at a point where we desparately need people of the same vision and faith to step up and help steer it back to its proper course.

  2. Thanks, Marney. Happy 4th to you, too. Hope you had a great one! I knew about #3 since my son did a report on Jefferson 🙂 I found it fascinating not only that they both died on the same day, but that the day was the the 4th of July! I didn’t know #2!

    • Thanks, Amy. So many tidbits about our history to know, aren’t there? To me, it’s the little things that bring the people of history, alive. This 4th, it really struck me how uncertain things were for the founding fathers. For us, it’s solid. A done deal. Wasn’t like that for them. They took a major risk, signing their names to the Declaration of Independence. Nothing like putting a big target on yourself. I’m thankful they were so brave.

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