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(CNN) — Here’s a look at Independence Day, celebrated on the Fourth of July.
America’s 240th Independence Day will be celebrated on Monday, July 4, 2016.


July 4, 1776 – The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence while meeting in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Statehouse (now Independence Hall). The Congress declares the American colonies free and independent states. (Note: John Hancock signs on July 4th. The rest sign on August 2, 1776.)

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston comprised the committee that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, actually wrote most of the document. The committee and Congress as a whole made a total of 86 changes to Jefferson’s draft.

First two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Other Facts:

  • Fireworks sales by wholesalers totaled $508.1 million and sales by retailers totaled $369.4. (Census, 2012)
  • The United States imported $4.4 million in American flags, with $4.3 million in flags from China. (Census, 2016)
  • The Fourth of July is the most popular holiday for grilling. On Independence Day, 76% of grill owners cook barbecue. Memorial Day and Labor Day are the second and third most popular grilling holidays. (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 2015)
  • Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: The winner eats the most hot dogs and buns within 10 minutes to win prize money and the Mustard Belt.
  • Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California, has won the title eight times (2007-2014). He also holds the world record for eating 69 hot dogs.
  • 1916 – The Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest is held at the original Nathan’s Famous at Coney Island.
  • 2011 – For the first time, men and women compete separately.
  • 2015 – Matt Stonie wins the men’s title by eating 62 hot dogs. Miki Sudo wins the women’s title by eating 38 hot dogs.

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