Happy Independence Day!

Well, hello everyone!

I hope you are all feeling festively patriotic as the 4th approaches. I know I can’t believe it’s July already! Well, in order to celebrate Independence Day here on the Whaley blog, let’s take a look at the history of the holiday and I’ll leave with a few fun facts to mull over.

History

As I hope most of you know, Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document which declared to the world that the colonists intended on separating from their mother country (Great Britain) and listed all of the reasons why. Thomas Jefferson (my history crush) was the main author of the document and did so at the age of 33!

I'm sure many of you have seen this famous painting by John Trumbull of the signing. This moment, of course, didn't actually happen, but was painted after the fact. Thomas Jefferson is the tall, red-headed fellow...in case you were wondering.

I’m sure many of you have seen this famous painting by John Trumbull of the signing. This moment, of course, didn’t actually happen, but was painted after the fact. Thomas Jefferson is the tall, red-headed fellow…in case you were wondering.

The Declaration of Independence was used to rally support around the country and world! The colonists knew that if they were going to take on the strongest army and navy in the world (that of the British empire) they would need foreign allies. France did end up coming to our aid and even used ideas from this document in their own revolution!

Moving along, the Declaration of Independence was commissioned by the Second Continental Congress. This was a body of delegates from the thirteen colonies who came together after the battles of Lexington and Concord (think back to that School House Rock Song “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”… and I’m sure you’re all on Youtube looking this up now) to decide what to do about the increasing violence and toxic political situation between the colonies and Great Britain.

What’s that? Thomas Jefferson wasn’t the sole author of the Declaration of Independence?

No. The Declaration Committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Roger Sherman (Connecticut), Robert Livingston (New York), and Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania). Their job was to sell the idea of separation to their fellow delegates and, ultimately, the world.

This painting, completed in 1900, is my favorite, depicting the work of Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams.

This painting, completed in 1900, is my favorite, depicting the work of Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams.

 

Fun Facts

Independence Day didn’t become a paid, national holiday until the twentieth century.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.

56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.

The film Independence Day (starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum) came out on July 3, 1996, 220 years after the signing.

The film 1776 starred William Daniels as John Adams. William Daniels also played Mr. Feeny, principle of John Adams High, in Boy Meets World.

In 1803, Independence Day was celebrated at the White House by eating part of a 1,234 pound wheel of cheese that had been given to then president Thomas Jefferson in 1802 as a gift from the town of Chesire, Massachusetts.

 

I’ll Leave You With This

 

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2 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day!

  1. My parents’ 4th of July tradition is to play the soundtrack to “1776” at full volume as soon as they wake up, which usually results in me levitating out of bed to the booming sound of the percussion in the overture. luckily i expect it and i find it kind of amusing.

    • That’s fabulous! I first watched the film in high school. It sparked my interest in the era and my obsession with Thomas Jefferson.

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