Happy Birthday America! Here are some fun facts to share with your kids about America’s most personal holiday.
July 4th became the official birthday of the United States in 1776, when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together to represent the 13 colonies. It became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution.
The Declaration of Independence was actually a letter to King George of England written by Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson was just thirty-three years old at the time and the youngest member of Congress. He would later become the 3rd President of the United States, from 1801 to 1809.
In his letter to King George, Jefferson explained why America was declaring its independence with a list of charges against the king. Colonists were angry that they had to pay taxes to the British government, but they had no voice or vote in the decisions that affected their lives.
56 men representing the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence. The signing of this document marked the beginning of an all-out war against the British government for freedom.
The first signature on the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock, a wealthy merchant and President of the Continental Congress. He later served as the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4th and one was actually born on this prestigious date. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress made the 4th of July a federal holiday. At first, it was an unpaid holiday for federal employees but Congress changed it to a paid federal holiday in 1941.
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 explorers, Lewis and Clark in 1805.
The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge, aged 26, and a delegate from South Carolina to the Continental Congress. The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, aged 70, and one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Today, July 4th is celebrated throughout the country with patriotic parades, fireworks, picnics, concerts and family gatherings as many citizens fly the American flag in support of our many wartime heroes and our independence.
Have a fabulous 4th!
Story source: https://kidskonnect.com/holidays-seasons/fourth-july/