Do you know the history of the Fourth of July?

Maria Trimarchi

What do Americans celebrate on the Fourth of July?

The Fourth of July, more descriptively known as Independence Day, is the celebration of when the original 13 colonies officially declared themselves independent from Great Britain.

What country gifted the Statue of Liberty to the citizens of the United States, on the Fourth of July, in 1886?

Lady Liberty, or "Liberty Enlightening the World," was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, and gifted by France to the American people on the American Independence Day, in 1886. Today, the Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City.

What is the national anthem of the United States?

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was designated as the country's national anthem by Congress on March 3, 1931.

When did the United States celebrate its bicentennial?

The United States of America celebrated its 200th birthday -- its bicentennial -- on July 4, 1976.

The cornerstone for which monument in Washington, D.C. was laid on July 4, 1848?

The cornerstone for the Washington Monument, in Washington, D.C., was laid on Independence Day in 1848.

While the tradition of firing cannon salutes comes from the Royal Navy, what national salute is traditionally fired at noon on the Fourth of July by the U.S. Navy?

The first salute was a 13-gun salute between the Continental Navy and the Dutch government of the island of St. Eustatius in the West Indies. Thirteen to represent the 13 colonies-turned-United States. Today, however, the 21-gun salute is customary and traditional on Independence Day.

When was the first Independence Day celebrated?

The first Independence Day was July 4, 1776, the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. While it was adopted on July 4, it wasn't signed until August that year.

Whose signature is the largest on the Declaration of Independence?

The president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, signed his name almost five-inches long. That's also why when we need someone's signature, we ask for their "John Hancock."

The national anthem is sung to what was a popular drinking song at the time, called "To Anacreon in Heavon." Who wrote the lyrics?

Inspired by the American flag flying over Fort McHenry in a night of heavy fighting during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814.

Which explorers were the first to celebrate the Fourth of July west of the Mississippi River?

It was Lewis and Clark who, during their westward expedition, celebrated Independence Day with their expedition team, the Corps of Discovery, on July 4, 1804, in what's now Kansas.

Three U.S. presidents have died on the Fourth of July. Which of these presidents did not?

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, just hours apart on July 4, 1826. James Monroe died a few years later, on July 4, 1831. Ronald Reagan, though, died on June 5, 2004.

What document was delivered to Great Britain in 1776, but not until November?

The Declaration of Independence, which wasn't signed until August 1776, wasn't delivered to the British monarchy until November 1776. (The Treaty of Paris, negotiated by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, marked the end of the war between the "colonies" and Great Britain.)

Only one U.S. president was born on the Fourth of July. Who was it?

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. president, was born in the small town of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, on July 4, 1872.

Did the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, mark the end of the American Revolutionary War?

The Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775, roughly one year before the Declaration of Independence was drafted. Its adoption on July 4, 1776, was not the end of the war, which continued until September 3, 1783.

Several months before American victory at the Battle of Yorktown in Pennsylvania, which New England state was the first to make Independence Day an official state holiday?

Massachusetts, founding father John Adams' home state, was the first state to make Independence Day an official state holiday.

Which military academy opened its doors on Independence Day in 1802?

West Point -- the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York -- opened on the Fourth of July in 1802.

Which groundbreaking ceremonies were timed to coordinate with Fourth of July celebrations?

It was popular at one time to coordinate your groundbreaking ceremony, such as all of these, with another important occasion -- the birthday of the country.

"O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave" is a lyric in which patriotic song, played generously around the country on Independence Day?

This lyric is the last line of the first of four verses of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The U.S. acquired roughly 828,000,000 square miles of land in a deal with France, called the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803. It was announced to whom on July 4 that year?

Land purchased from the French in 1803 doubled the size of the new country, and was announced to the American public in newspapers on the Fourth of July that year. The Louisiana Territory became 15 of today's states, including: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, as well as parts of Colorado, Louisana, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming (and some small parts of what's present-day Canada).

Whose face, which was carved first on Mount Rushmore, was dedicated to the American public on July 4, 1934?

After seven years from start to finish, George Washington's head on Mount Rushmore was dedicated on July 4, 1934.

On Independence Day in 1914, who spoke the now-famous words, "Our country, right or wrong" in an address at Independence Hall in Philadelphia?

This is often mistakenly attributed to U.S. Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars. It's actually President Woodrow Wilson who said, about the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, "Our country, right or wrong."

A new American flag with how many stars was unveiled on the Fourth of July in 1912?

The American flag featuring 48 stars, representing the 48 contiguous states, was unveiled on July 4, 1912. The flag doesn't include Alaska or Hawaii, as neither were yet states. (Alaska would become a state on January 3, 1959, and Hawaii on August 21, 1959.)

Which year were fireworks first included in Philadelphia's Fourth of July celebrations?

The very first Fourth of July celebrations in Philadelphia included fireworks. Boston, too, adopted fireworks in early commemorations of Independence Day.

In 1852, in Rochester, New York, who delivered the speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, it was former slave Frederick Douglass who delivered the now-famous speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

What MLB first baseman played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, before announcing his retirement and telling his fans he's, "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth" on the Fourth of July?

When Lou Gehrig decided to retire from major league baseball, after his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he did it at Yankee Stadium, in front of a crowd of fans on July 4, 1939.

When was the first time the Fourth of July celebration on the central tourist area, the Monument Grounds, in Washington, D.C., was televised?

The Independence Day ceremonies that take place at the Monument Grounds in Washington, D.C., were first televised on July 4, 1947.

Which of the USA's founding fathers, in a letter to his wife, suggested Independence Day be celebrated with fireworks displays?

It was John Adams, founding father of the U.S. and its second president, who wrote he'd like to see the day celebrated with "illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

Where could people read a copy of the new Declaration of Independence, in 1776?

Two days after it was adopted by the Continental Congress, on July 6, the Declaration of Independence was printed for anyone to read, in full, in the Pennsylvania Evening Post. By the time it was (mostly) signed, August 2, the document had been printed in at least 29 American newspapers and one magazine.

Which founding father believed Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2, not July 4, and would not participate in Fourth of July ceremonies?

Because the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain on July 2, founding father and America's second president, John Adams, believed that was the true date to celebrate.

On July 4, 1992, the astronauts traveling on which NASA space shuttle unfurled the American flag and together shouted, "Happy birthday, America!"?

Seven astronauts on a 13-day mission aboard the Columbia space shuttle celebrated the Fourth of July with the American flag and happy birthday greetings back to Earth.

Where did the first Fourth of July celebration take place in California, 2,400 miles from Philadephia?

The first West coast Fourth of July celebration took place at Fort Hill -- near today's Los Angeles, California -- in 1847. The first celebration in Northern California was three years later, in Shasta.

Which was the only time George Washington ever addressed American citizens on the Fourth of July?

George Washington addressed his fellow Americans on July 4, 1791, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While he celebrated each year, it was the only time he made an address.

America's 48-star flag flew for 47 years before which updated version became the new official version on July 4, 1959?

The 49-star flag officially replaced the 48-star flag on July 4, 1959, although it turned out to be just temporary. The 50-star flag, celebrating Hawaii's statehood, was ordered just about 6 weeks later and adopted in July 1960.

Since the "Let Freedom Ring" tradition began in 1963, houses of worship around the U.S. ring their bells how many times on the Fourth of July?

Around the country on the Fourth of July, houses of worship participating in the "Let Freedom Ring" tradition ring their bells 13 times, in recognition of the 13 original colonies.

"Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat, and called it macaroni" is the first line of the patriotic song "Yankee Doodle." Today it's the state song of what state, which was also an original colony?

"Yankee Doodle," which was considered by both the revolutionists and the Brits to be a patriotic song (they sang different lyrics), is now the official state song of Connecticut. Connecticut was the fifth state to enter the union, on January 9, 1788.

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About This Quiz

We'll never know if the founding fathers of the United States envisioned their fellow future Americans celebrating Independence Day by the grill or in the pool when they met to discuss the future of the country, but that shouldn't stop you from doing just that. And don't forget the fireworks display!

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