10 facts about Fourth of July

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.

Fireworks, festivities and family fun - that about sums up the American celebration of the Fourth of July. Independence Day has long been celebrated to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

On our nation's birthday in 1776, representatives from 13 American colonies approved and adopted the Declaration of Independence, establishing freedom from British rule.

But Independence Day celebrations date back to the 18th century. Here's 10 interesting things you didn't know about celebrating one of America's favorite holidays.

  1. The Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from the British on July 2, 1776. Its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence two days later.
  2. John Adams, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, believed that July 2nd was the correct date to celebrate American independence, and would turn down invitations to appear at Fourth of July events in protest.
  3. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of American independence.
  4. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777. Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday in 1781.
  5. Texas accounts for about one-sixth of the nation's total production of beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers, so chances are good that meat for July Fourth barbecues come from the Lone Star State.
  6. Broiler chicken production was estimated at $1 billion or greater in six states last year: Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. On July Fourth, these states likely provide the barbecued chicken.
  7. The dollar value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom last year was $107.1 billion, making our former adversary in 1776, our sixth-leading trading partner today.
  8. The United States imported a total of $232.3 million of fireworks in 2011. They exported about $15.8 million the same year.
  9. In July 1776, the nation's estimated population was 2.5 million. Today, the nation's estimated population on July Fourth is 319.9 million.
  10. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July Fourth a federal holiday. In 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

SOURCE: Census.gov, History.com



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