1. On the 4th of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.
2. Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
3. The Declaration of Independence was actually a letter to King George that had been written on July 2 by Thomas Jefferson. It was a formal explanation of why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain. It was meant to justify a revolt against the British, with a list of charges against the British king.
4. The main problem is that the colonists were angry they were being taxed by the Bristish government, and they had no vote or voice in the decisions that affected them.
5. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies. The moment the declaration was signed it marked the beginning of all-out war against the British.
6. The first signature on the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock's. The myth is that he wrote his name large so that Kind George would be able to read it without his glasses.
7. Three U.S. presidents actually died on July 4. Two of them passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These two men had been political rivals and then friends later in life. The other President was James Monroe, who died July 4, 1831. One US President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4.
8. In 1870 the Congress made the 4th of July an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a paid federal holiday.
9. The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804. The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
10. Today, the 4th of July is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.