Fourth of July factoids, 2015 edition

Happy 4th JulyOn July 4 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The declaration announced that the thirteen American colonies no longer considered themselves as part of the British Empire but rather a new nation of independent sovereign states — the United States of America.

This in itself is well-known: however, here are some factoids about the event that are less well-known:

  • The term “Declaration of Independence” is not used anywhere in the document.
    It’s unclear when or how the document started to be referred to that way.
  • Congress had already voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain.
    For that reason, John Adams wanted July 2 to be considered Independence Day.
  • While 56 people signed the Declaration, John Hancock was the first and – by far – the largest signature.
    This is why the phrase “John Hancock” is sometimes used to mean signature.
  • At 70 years old, Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania was the oldest person to sign.
    At 26, Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the youngest.
  • Not surprisingly, two of the signers were future Presidents: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
    Oddly, both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.

Americans celebrate our independence with fireworks, parades and – the most American of traditions – backyard barbecues. This gives rise to a few other unusual factoids:

  • The beef in our hotdogs, burgers, or steaks likely came from Texas or Nebraska.
    An estimated 1/3 of our nation’s beef supply comes from those two states.
  • Our pork sausages and ribs probably originated in Iowa.
    Iowa is home to ~30% of our nation’s pork supply; twice as much as any other state.
  • It’s a safe bet the baked beans we ate came from North Dakota.
    As I blogged about in 2008, the state produces more than 40% of U.S. beans.

Happy 4th of July.

, , ,

One Response to Fourth of July factoids, 2015 edition

  1. John Appleby July 3, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Since I live in the city of brotherly love, here are a few factoids about the Liberty Bell

    – It’s impossible that the bell was run on July 4, 1776
    – Poor construction led to the crack that makes it so famous
    – The name Liberty Bell was coined by abolitionists in the 1830s as a symbol of the end of slavery
    – The Liberty Bell is featured on the new $100 bill

    Happy Independence Day!

Leave a Reply