Five Things You Need to Know Today: 4th of July Version
Some facts and figures you may not have known about the Fourth of July.
In May 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress.
Although John Adams and Benjamin Franklin helped Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson is the actual author.
Massachusetts was the first state to make the Fourth of July an official holiday.
2.5 million: Number of people living in America on July 4, 1776.
311.7 million: Number of people living in America on July 4, 2011.
It was not until 1804 that the White House celebrated the first public Independence Day event. In 1941, Congress formally declared July 4 a federal holiday.