America: the land of the free, rebellious, and stubborn. While their portraits radiate opulence, the Founding Fathers exemplified these other virtues as much as current American citizens do. Check out these nine Independence Day facts that you probably didn’t learn in school:
1. Although Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the first delegates didn’t start officially signing it until August 2.
2. John Hancock, known for his large signature on the Declaration, is rumored to have said, “King George will be able to read that!” when he signed.
3. John Adams believed that July 2 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, as the Continental Congress agreed to be independent on that day. Adams reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4 events in protest.
4. During the first Independence celebrations in 1776, some colonists held mock funerals of King George III to signify the end of the monarchy’s power over the colonies.
5. John Dunlap was the first to print copies of the Declaration of Independence. Extant copies have fetched $8.1 million online. One lucky person found a copy in a $4 frame purchased at a flea market.
6. Each year on Independence Day, the Liberty Bell is tapped 13 times by descendants of the Declaration’s signers to commemorate the patriots from the 13 original colonies.
7. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the 50th anniversary of America’s independence: July 4, 1826.
8. King George III didn’t respond to the Declaration of Independence until October 31, 1776, when he called Revolutionary leaders power-hungry and affirmed the British victory against Washington at the Battle of Long Island.
9. After George Washington read the Declaration to a crowd in New York City, colonists tore down a statue of King George III; it was later melted down and turned into over 42,000 musket balls for the rebel army.
Featured image: Shutterstock
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