5 Famous 'facts' about the Fourth of July that probably aren't actually true at all
Happy Fourth of July everyone! Today marks 242 years since the 13 original US colonies flipped the bird at King George III of England and said something along the lines of, "See ya, suckers" as they claimed independence and began their journey towards becoming the most powerful nation on Earth.
These days, Americans celebrate the occasion with fireworks, family, and copious amounts of food, and remember what their ancestors sacrificed in order for them to get to this point in time. However, a lot of what we claim to be true about this momentous date is actually apocryphal and has been changed a fair bit over the last couple of centuries.
So, if you want to know what you're really celebrating today - here are five "facts" about Independence Day that might actually be totally false...
1. The Revolutionary War was just America vs Britain
While the American narrative may focus on the USA's power struggle leading up to Independence Day, the Revolutionary War was far more than just one country challenging another for political control. Overall, the war was more to do with France and Britain - and France's loss to Britain in the Seven Years War spurred them on to fight for the colonist in the fight for American independence. There were a ton of other factors at play, of course, but the bottom line is that the war involved more than just the yanks and the Brits.
2. The Liberty Bell broke on Independence Day
Sorry, folks, but this is utter poppycock. The romantic idea that colonists celebrated their victory so vigorously that they ended up cracking the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cannot possibly be true, as the official announcement about the Declaration didn't go out until July 8th. What's more, accounts from the time show that the steeple that held the bell was in disrepair before Independence Day - so it may have already been broken.
3. John Hancock's obnoxiously large signature was intended to spite King George III
The story goes that John Hancock signed his name so large on the Declaration of Independence because he wanted the English king to be able to read it without his glasses. Unfortunately, it's probably not true, as the document was never even sent to King George; and Hancock's signature is almost certainly the biggest just because he signed it first.
4. John Adams mentioned Thomas Jefferson in his last words on Independence Day
Both Adams and Jefferson passed away on July 4, 1826 - which was very patriotic of them. There has long been a rumour that, on his deathbed, Adams whispered, "Thomas Jefferson survives" before expiring. Unbeknownst to him, however, Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier. Again, though, there is no evidence that Adams ever said this. It's possible, considering the two were former friends, but nobody will know for sure.
5. The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th
I hate to break it to you guys, but Independence Day might technically be celebrated on the wrong date. The Continental Congress actually declared the 13 colonies independent from the Crown on July 2nd, but the resolution was revised and finalised on July 4th. More than that, though, it's believed the actual document was not signed until a month or so later, and that some signatures were added months or even years after July 4th 1776.
These days, however, not much of that means anything anymore. Sure, the whole thing about the Liberty Bell might be a myth, and the celebration is probably held on the wrong date - but you know what? America still has their freedom.