Can you name the United States president who was born on the Fourth of July?
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Fireworks, food, and family: A festive Fourth of July celebration is a sure sign that summer has arrived, but the holiday isn’t just about hot dogs and sparklers. There’s much more to our country’s long and complicated history that can’t be summed up by a fireworks show (although celebrating Independence Day with fireworks was originally John Adams’ idea). This season, brush up on the history of the Fourth of July, then celebrate the day by playing this Fourth of July trivia game with your friends and family.

Our free trivia game is easy to download and print, so you can easily play with your family on Independence Day. Or, send it to friends and see who knows the most about this iconic American holiday.

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fireworks explode over the National Mall as the US Capitol (R) and National Monument
Credit: AFP Contributor/Getty Images

1 The Declaration of Independence Wasn’t Actually Signed in July

On July 4, 1776, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, but it actually wasn’t signed until almost a month later. When the declaration was officially approved on July 4, John Hancock and Charles Thompson (president and secretary of the Continental Congress) signed the draft that day. But the official copy wasn’t signed by all 56 signers until August 2, 1776.

2 Fireworks Were John Adams’ Idea

When John Adams wrote that letter predicting an annual Fourth of July celebration, he specifically called out one iconic tradition: Fireworks. He wrote that the holiday would be celebrated “with illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward, forevermore.” And judging by the amount of fireworks purchased each year (more on that below), I’d say he was correct.

3 Americans Spend $1 Billion on Fireworks Each July

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spend $1 billion on fireworks each July. That’s a lot of bottle rockets and sparklers ($13, Walmart)! The APA estimates that price adds up to about 268 million pounds of fireworks sold each year.

4 George Washington Celebrated the Holiday with Rum

While many of us enjoy a red, white, and blue cocktail on the Fourth of July, George Washington may have been the first to start the tradition. On the second anniversary of the first Fourth of July, America was still fighting for independence in the Revolutionary War. George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers (along with an artillery salute) to celebrate the holiday on July 4, 1778.

5 The First American Flag Only Had 13 Stars

The United States flag didn’t always have 50 stars. In fact, the original flag only had 13—which represented the 13 original colonies. The blue square with the stars is referred to as ‘the union’ on the flag, and should always be displayed at the peak of the flag staff or on the uppermost right side, if hung on a wall. If you don't have one already, purchase an American Flag ($19, Walmart) to display for the holiday. 

6 Americans Eat 155 Million Hot Dogs Each Fourth of July

According to Forbes, 155 million hot dogs are consumed each Independence Day, setting Americans back $104.7 million for the dogs and another $70.4 million for the buns. If you’re grilling up hot dogs this Fourth of July, try one of these 8 delicious combinations of toppings.

7 The First Fourth of July Was Celebrated in 1777

When the Declaration of Independence was finalized in July of 1776, future president John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, saying he expected the date to become an annual celebration in America—and he was right. In 1777, the first Fourth of July was celebrated with fireworks and parades.

8 One President was Born on July 4

Calvin Coolidge was the first (and so far, the only) president to have been born on the Fourth of July. He was born on July 4, 1872, in Plymouth, Vermont, and went on to become president in 1923.

9 Three Presidents Have Died on July 4

While only one president has been born on Independence Day, three have died on the holiday. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson actually died on the same day, on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Fourth of July. Later, President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.

10 The First Person to Sign the Declaration of Independence Was Never President

John Hancock famously was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence (that’s where the phrase 'put your John Hancock here' originates), so many people falsely assume he became president at some point. Although he was president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock never became president of the United States.

11 Apple Pie Is Considered the Most American Dessert

When the colonists first came to America, they were looking for ways to distance themselves from Britain. They ditched their traditional scones and cakes and learned how to make a flaky pastry crust from Dutch immigrants who had also come to America. Since apples were easy to come by, they filled the pastries with apple slices and the tradition of apple pie (and independence) was born. This Fourth of July, serve the classic dessert in a blue or red pie dish ($20, Walmart) for an extra patriotic touch.

12 The Fourth of July Wasn’t a Federal Holiday Until 1870

Although the holiday has been celebrated each year since 1776, it wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1870. Although the holiday was celebrated annually, it wasn't until after the War of 1812 (when the U.S. faced Great Britain again and patriotic sentiments were at an all-time high), that the Fourth of July became an even larger celebration than before. Because of this, Congress declared it an official holiday in 1870, and in 1941, made the day a paid holiday for all federal employees.

13 The White House Held Its First Fourth of July Party in 1801

Each Fourth of July, a televised concert and fireworks show is presented from the National Mall in Washington D.C., but it wasn’t always celebrated this way. President Thomas Jefferson held the White House’s first Fourth of July celebration in 1801, starting the annual tradition.

14 Massachusetts Was the First State to Declare July 4 an Official Holiday

Although the holiday wasn’t made an official nation-wide holiday until 1870, the state of Massachusetts has recognized the holiday since 1781. Several months before America won the Revolutionary War, Massachusetts declared the Fourth of July an official state holiday.

15 'The Star Spangled Banner' Didn't Become the National Anthem for More Than 100 Years

Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner on September 14, 1814, as he watched British troops take over fort Fort McHenry during the war of 1812—but the song didn't become the national anthem until more than a hundred years later in 1931. Now, it's tradition for the national anthem to be played before all Fourth of July shows and celebrations.

16 There Are Only 2.5 Million Original United States Citizens

Today, the United States has a population of more than 332.5 million, but on July 4, 1776, there were only 2.5 million people living in the United States. That means the population has grown by 13,200% since the first Independence Day.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 2, 2021
No. 5. should say "The blue square with the stars is referred to as ‘the union’ on the flag, and should always be displayed at the peak of the flag staff or on the uppermost left (not right) side, if hung on a wall." Great article.