Daniel Doherty

Happy Fourth of July! Today we celebrate 238 years of American independence. To that end, here are four interesting facts about this uniquely American holiday that you might not be aware of.

(1) Did you know that the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution to dissolve all political ties with Great Britain on July 2, 1776? It wasn’t until two days later, on July 4th, that the Founding Fathers formally adopted the document we now universally refer to as the “Declaration of Independence.”

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” John Adams wrote his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. As it turned out, he was off by a few days.

(2) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both passed away on July 4, 1826 -- 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted. The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, also died on July 4th shortly thereafter -- in 1831.

(3) Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin (70) was the oldest to sign his name, and South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge (26) was the youngest.

(4) John Hancock was the first delegate to sign the Declaration; and he was only one of two delegates to do so on July 4, 1776. According to legend, he decided to sign his name in big, ostentatious letters so that, as he put it, the “fat old King could read it without his spectacles.”

So there you have it. Have a great day, everyone. I’ll leave you with this: an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence -- one of the most important political documents ever written (or ever will be written):

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Read it all here, and explore Townhall's U.S. Constitution page here.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography