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5 Myths about 4th of July: Debunked

Posted by Kelvin Adikwu on

5 Myths about 4th of July: Debunked


Spoiler Alert: The July 4, 1776, party did not crack the Liberty Bell.


More often than not we find that time-honored tales turn out to be a lot more fiction than they are fact. As the story passes down from generation to generation you could say these tales get sweetened – and the 4th of July is no stranger to tales or myths.

In this post, we would be debunking 5 infamous myths about the birth of the United States of America


1. The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4

Wrong! It wasn't

We celebrate Independence Day, two days too late. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence. This prompted John Adams to write his wife saying, "I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." 

But it was not until the Fourth of July that the written document was edited and approved. When the broadside announcements were sent across the land, July 4 was the affixed date.

While Adams correctly predicted the shows, sports, games, bells, buns, and bonfires that now characterize our Independence Day celebrations, he got the date wrong and July 2 became just another day in July.

The Declaration of Independence was also never signed in July 1776. John Hancock's famous signature was boldly scribbled on August 2. The signing will continue in the following weeks until its completion in late November.


2. The Liberty Bell was cracked during July 4, 1776, party.

Well... no

While this would definitely make for a tale of the party of a lifetime, joyful patriots did not crack the Liberty Bell on July 4, 1776. In fact, chances are that the State House Bell didn't ring that day.

There is a crack on the Liberty Bell and it's one of the many that have been since 1752. This is because the bell was poorly cast and actually cracked for the first time, soon after its arrival in 1752. It was subsequently recast several times, and would then get cracked yet again.


Although the exact date is in dispute, the iconic crack on it today actually appeared sometime during the 19th century.


3. America was United Against the British

Uhmm... not quite

The fight for Independence also saw Americans stand against Americans - and they did so in large numbers. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of Americans at the time were loyal to the crown. Not to mention there were others who preferred to avoid fighting altogether.


While there are no exact numbers, an estimated 50,000 Americans served as British militia or soldiers during the conflict.


4. Betsy Ross Made the First American Flag

The American flag made its debut in 1777 and nearly a century after the fact, Betsy Ross's grandson ignited the fires of a tale saw his grandmother, a famous seamstress play the part of designing or sewing the flag.

While this cannot be proved, it cannot be disproved because there are quite a number of reasons she just might have been the one to do it.

The Betsy Ross House on Philadelphia's Arch Street (where Ross may or may not have actually lived) tells the whole tale and leaves visitors to draw their own conclusions.



5. John Adams Died Thinking of Thomas Jefferson

Incredibly both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams did die on a July 4. 

There is no real evidence, however, that suggests that Adams was thinking about Jefferson of even uttered "Jefferson survives" while on his deathbed.

In the event that he did utter the fabled last words, he would have been wrong, because Jefferson had died several hours before he did.

Nonetheless, July 4 does seem an inauspicious day for presidents - James Monroe also died on July 4, 1831.


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