Fourteen Pieces of July 4th Trivia

14 facts to share at your 4th of July bbq.

As our nation celebrates its 236th birthday with fireworks, watermelon, jello and cool whip, EcoSalon gives you some Fourth-related factoids. Why? Because all barbecues need a know-it-all who can spout trivia while cooking one of our 4th of July recipes.

Best Gift Ever: On July 4th 1884, France presented the U.S. with Lady Liberty herself, after shipping the disassembled statue in crates across the Atlantic and re-building it in New York City.

Shacking Up: On July 4th, 1845, Henry David Thoreau decided to forgo all barbecues and fireworks by moving into his cabin at Walden Pond.

Rest in Peace: Three U.S. presidents have died on America’s birthday. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (the second and third presidents, respectively) died within hours of one another in 1826, while James Monroe (the fifth) passed away in 1831.

Hot Damn: Americans will consume roughly 155 million hot dogs on the fourth, which is perhaps the reason why the month of July is distinguished as National Hot Dog Month.

Lennon’s Independence: “Give Peace a Chance,” John Lennon’s first solo single, was released in the mother country on America’s birthday in 1969.

A Solemn Remembrance: The U.S. isn’t the only nation to celebrate its independence this week. Rwandans observe Liberation Day on July 4th, commemorating the end of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Hot Off the Press: The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence on July 6th, 1776.

Poet and the Patriot: On July 4th 1855, one of America’s finest and most controversial poets—Walt Whitman—published the first edition of his magnum opus, Leaves of Grass.

The Star Spangled Drinking Song: America’s national anthem has the same melody as “The Anacreontic Song,” which served as the title track of The Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen’s music club in London.

Birthday Buddies: Calvin Coolidge is the only U.S. president to share a birthday with the country he presided over; he was born in 1872.

Bottoms Up: The Fourth of July is America’s biggest beer-drinking occasion, with 63.5 million cases sold around the holiday, according to a 2009 Neilsen survey.

Independence From Whom?: A 2010 poll found that more than one quarter of Americans aren’t so sure just who our forefathers were fighting against.  

Parading Republicans: Apparently Fourth of July parades are a right wing thing. A 2011 Harvard study found that patriotic parades are more likely to turn kids into republicans rather than democrats and to boost republican voter turnout on election day.

America’s Finest: Nobel Laureate Marie Curie, the only scientist to ever win prizes in two different fields of study, passed away on July 4th, 1934.

Image: Marion Doss

Rosie Spinks

Rosie Spinks is a freelance journalist from California with a degree in Environmental Studies. Her work has been published in publications including Sierra magazine, GOOD magazine, the Ecologist, and the Guardian Environment Network. A passion for travel, running barefoot outdoors, and reconnecting people to what is good dominates most of her thoughts. You can follow her writing on Twitter and Tumblr.