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A few things you probably didn’t know about Independence Day

It’s almost July 4th and before you gobble down a hotdog and take in some fireworks, we thought we would share some little-known Independence Day facts that you can use to amaze your family and friends.

First, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776.

Shocking, right?

Actually, July 4 was the day that Congress approved the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. It wasn’t until August 2, 1776 that the document was actually signed.

Next, we all know about John Hancock’s famous, well … John Hancock. But did you know he was actually the first of the 56 delegates to sign the document?

And how was the first anniversary of Independence Day celebrated? The Virginia Gazette described the celebration in Philadelphia this way:

“The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Everything was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.”

Here are a few more little-known facts thanks to

• Congress officially declared July 4th a federal holiday in 1870, but it wasn’t until 1938 until federal employees could take the day off.

• On the back of the Declaration of Independence, the words “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776” is written upside down.

•  Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—signers of the Declaration of Independence who later went on to become president—died on its 50th anniversary.

• According to the weather diary of Thomas Jefferson, the weather on July 4, 1776 was cloudy and 76 degrees.

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