236 years (and 2 days) ago, the United States declared their independence from England. Today, we celebrate with fireworks, BBQs, and a plethora of red, white, and blue food. (We’ll be doing the dipped strawberries and American Flag Fruit Kebabs!) It’s the ultimate national party!
In honor of this day, here is a smattering of little known facts about the 4th of July, our Founding Fathers, and the American Revolution:
- July 2nd is actually the day that the Thirteen Colonies legally asserted their independence from England. It took two more days for the Second Continental Congress to revise and approve the Declaration of Independence.
- We know John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, but did you know Thomas McKean was the last?
- While Paul Revere is well-known for his “Midnight Ride“, he wasn’t alone. William Dawes, Jr. was actually the first rider to escape Boston and race to Lexington to warn the militia. Revere caught up with him on the way, along with Dr. Samuel Prescott. The three men encountered British troops, and it was only Revere who was captured. Dawes eluded the British and Prescott was the one who eventually made it to Concord to warn the Patriots. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized Rever in his poem, and effectively wrote Dawes and Prescott out of the annals of popular history with his creative–but inaccurate–verses.
- Benjamin Franklin only had a 2nd-grade education.
- James Madison was our shortest President, standing only 5’4″ tall.
- Thomas Jefferson proposed substituting maple sugar for cane sugar, writing, “What a blessing to substitute a sugar which requires only the labour of children, for that which it is said renders the slavery of the blacks necessary.”
For a humorous look at the American Revolution, you have to read Foreign Policy’s “What if Twitter Had Been Around During the Revolutionary War?“ (one example: @SamAdams Tweet up at the harbor Nov 28. Bring tea. Mohawk costume optional #TeaParty)
And if you are a child of the 70s and 80s, you surely remember these American History lessons via Schoolhouse Rock: