Friday Fives: Top Five Things To Know for July 4th Weekend

This weekend, Leaderhelps celebrates the 4th with five cool things to know about the celebration of America’s Independence.


5. July 4, 1776 may not really the most important date.

July 4, 1776 is when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. But it had only two signatures on that date. Further, John Adams wrote that July 2 would actually be the big day since the Continental Congress met that day and voted to approve the Declaration. After a little more work by Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, it was presented to Congress on the 4th.  And it wasn’t signed by most of the delegates until Aug. 2. Finally, Independence Day didn’t even become a legal holiday in America until 1941.

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4. Independence Day is at the center of an amazing coincidence.

Three of the first five US presidents died on July 4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in 1826 (America’s 50th Anniversary). Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” Fifth president James Monroe died five years later on July 4, 1831.

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Adams, Jefferson, Monroe all died on July 4.


3. The most prominent signer of the declaration bequeathed his soul to God

You know the name John Hancock, of course. Now read this excerpt from his Will:

I John Hancock, . . . being advanced in years and being of perfect mind and memory-thanks be given to God-therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die [Hebrews 9:27], do make and ordain this my last will and testament…Principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it: and my body I recommend to the earth . . . nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mercy and power of God.

Image from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

John Hancock was the first (and largest) signer of the Declaration


2. You may not know one of the most important founding fathers, but you should.

Look up Dr. Benjamin Rush sometime. He…

  • …attended the Continental Congress
  • …signed of the Declaration of Independence
  • …is considered both “The Father of American Medicine” and “The Father of American Psychiatry”
  • …was a leading abolitionist
  • …helped establish five American universities
  • …founded American Sunday Schools and the nation’s first Bible Society
  • …said:  “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the United States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.” and “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion.”

Other than that, he didn’t have much going on.

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Dr. Benjamin Rush


1. Shortly after declaring America's independence, Congress commissioned the printing of a Bible

From Wallbuilders:

“Prior to the American Revolution, the only English Bibles in the colonies were imported either from Europe or England. Publication of the Bible was regulated by the British government, and an English language Bible could not be printed without a special license from the British government. Because English language Bibles could not be printed in America but had to be imported, when the Revolution began and the British began to blockade all materials coming to America, the ability to obtain such Bibles ended. Therefore, in 1777, America began experiencing a shortage of several important commodities, including Bibles. On July 7, a request was placed before Congress to print or import more, because “unless timely care be used to prevent it, we shall not have Bibles for our schools and families and for the public worship of God in our churches.

Four years later, in January of 1781, Robert Aitken (publisher of the Pennsylvania Magazine in Philadelphia) petitioned Congress for permission to print an English-language Bible on his presses in America rather than import the Bibles.  Congress gave Aitken a ringing endorsement in the form of a congressional resolution to ‘publish this Recommendation in the manner he shall think proper’ to help sell and circulate the Bible.”

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