The Fourth of July: A Quick History

Posted by Casandra Properties on Saturday, July 4th, 2020 at 8:51am.

The Fourth of July -- also known as Independence Day -- or simply July 4th -- has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. July 4th celebrations, however, go all the way back to the 18th century. These days we often celebrate the holiday with barbecues, beach trips, family, friends, and viewing firework displays.  

The Declaration of Independence Was Signed

While we celebrate our nation’s independence on the 4th, did you know the United States of America actually gained independence two days prior on the 2nd?  The Continental Congress voted in favor Independence from England on the July 2,1776.  For the last 250 years, however, we have been coming together to celebrate our independence, on the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the committee of delegates from the 13 colonies including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger, and Robert R. Livingston, among others.  Although Jefferson was considered the strongest writer, a total of 86 changes were made to his draft.  

Here’s a photo of the original rough draft, courtesy of the Library of Congress. 

John Adams Was First to Suggest Fireworks. 

On July 4th , we often celebrate the anniversary of the signing of this vital document with friends and families, viewing elaborate firework displays. Interestingly enough, fireworks on July 4th can be directly attributed to John Adams, a key player in our very freedom. It is said that Adams had been the to first come up with the idea of celebrating our freedom with fireworks even before the Declaration of Independence was even signed. In a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote that our freedom “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

As it turns out, the first celebratory fireworks were set off just a year later in 1777, in both Boston and Pennsylvania. John Adams’ vision would be realized. These days, while fireworks are only legal in 30 of the 50 states, and each state has varying rules of use, magnificent firework shows are carried out under pyrotechnic expertise all across the U.S.

Today, fireworks, of course, are not legal throughout the United States. Only 30 states allow most fireworks, with specific rules varying from state to state.

4th of July Fireworks

Facts about Fireworks:

  • The Chinese invented fireworks sometime between 600 and 900 A.D. by combining Saltpeter (a common food seasoning), charcoal, and sulfur to form gunpowder. They would fill bamboo shoots with this powder, and throw them into a fire to produce a loud blast.
  • China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.
  • They would fill bamboo shoots with this powder, and throw them.
  • Italy not China, was the first nation to colorize fireworks, having discovered that metallic powders could produce specific colors.
  • Three sparklers that burn together alongside of each other generate the same amount of heat as a blow-torch.
  • Static electricity produced from synthetic clothing can actually set off firecrackers. In fact, people who make them must wear cotton garments.
  • 50% of injuries are to children under the age of 16. 41% of these injuries are to the hands and fingers.

Fireworks are beautiful and exciting, but let’s leave them to the professionals, folks. The American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation provides some great information on firework safety, as well as more interesting facts about them.

Casandra Properties Wishes You a Safe and Happy Fourth of July! And don’t forget to say thank you to the brave members of our Armed Forces and our Veterans!

Be sure to return to our blog for more articles about Staten Island real estate, investing, history, events, neighborhoods, how-to, and more!

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