Little Known Facts About July Fourth
The Fourth of July commemorates Congress official adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. For once, the holiday was celebrated nearly at the same time as its creation, with Philadelphia marking the occasion on July 4, 1777. The White House did not celebrate the Fourth of July until 1801. However, Congress did not recognize the Fourth of July as a national holiday until after the lengthy war of 1812, officially designating the date in 1870 (coincidentally the first such holiday announcement by Congress ever, and one that included recognizing Christmas). Time off for federal employees was not made part of the bargain until 1941, though.
Even though it was widely celebrated, not all agreed that July 4th was the right day. John Adams reportedly believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. According to History.com, "On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote... On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 'will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival' and that the celebration should include 'Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.'" Only two men actually signed the Declaration on July 4th, the rest had already done so before that momentous date.
Before the Declaration of Independence, colonialists often celebrated the King of England's birthday. Some people would indeed celebrate July 4th as a mock funeral instead of a birthday. More traditionally, though, July 4th marks the birth of a nation. But some very real deaths occurred on the birthday of the nation... Indeed, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826--the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Later, President James Monroe would also die on July 4th. But it's not all bad: President Calvin Coolidge was actually born on July 4, 1872.
The U.S. is not the only country to celebrate the Fourth of July as a day of independence. Both Rwanda and the Philippines also celebrate holidays on the Fourth of July (Liberation Day and Republic Day, respectively).
Many facts taken from: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th and http://list25.com/25-fun-facts-about-4th-of-july-that-will-make-you-want-to-celebrate/5.