July 4th Trivia for the 2013 celebration

July 1, 2013

Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July?
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.  Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died on the same day in 1826, Monroe died in 1831. (Thanks to David Gurowsky for catching a typo on the dates.)

What other presidents died close to the 4th of July?
On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended ceremonies for the Washington Memorial and returned to the White House for a bowl of cherries and milk. He became sick to his stomach that night and died five days later. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died several months later.

How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th?
Only two.

When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
It was July 8, 1776.  The Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall to summon the crowd.

On what date did most of the signers actually sign the doc?
August 2, 1776.

Who was the oldest signatory?
Benjamin Franklin. He was 70.

Who was the youngest?
Edward Rutledge.  He was 26 years old.  Rutledge owned 50 slaves. He later became governor of South Carolina.

Name the State that had the most delegates sign?
Pennsylvania.  There were nine. 

Who was the last signatory of the Declaration of Independence?

Thomas McKean, January, 1777. He was at one time the president of the continental congress, later became a governor of Pa.

When did Abraham Lincoln give his 1863, July fourth address?
On July 7, 1863. On July 4, citizens in Washington were celebrating what appeared to be a victory at Gettysburg and wanted Lincoln to give a speech but he would only issue a short proclamation. He was waiting to get a complete report and for further news out west, where General Grant was laying siege to Vicksburg. He later found out that Vicksburg had fallen on July 4th. Lincoln gave his speech three days late.

What other countries celebrate the 4th of July?
Denmark, Norway, Sweden and England.

In what year did July 4 become a paid legal federal holiday?
It became an unpaid federal holiday in 1870. And a lot of trivia sites say that it became a paid holiday in 1941 but it was actually passed by congress in 1938.

How did Nathan’s, Fourth of July, Hot Dog contest begin?
It started out as a dispute among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic. And so, that explains why this country is overweight. We are patriotic?

What American President was famous for playing golf every Fourth of July?
Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What modern First Lady wore a bejeweled American Flag in her lapel on every Fourth of July? Pat Nixon, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton or Betty Ford?
Jackie Kennedy. And the jewelry actually sells on e-bay.


July 4, 1863

July 8, 2009

by Doug Wead

All this business about the fourth of July missed one of the more remarkable days in American history. I am speaking of July 4th, 1863. There were celebrations in the streets of Washington because of the apparent outcome of the battle of Gettysburg. The people of the north were hungry for a victory and they thought this was it. They massed around the White House calling on the president to give a speech.

Well, Abraham Lincoln was not so sure. He had been disappointed before. What they all knew was that General Meade and the Union armies had held their ground at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania against Robert E. Lee and a Confederate invasion of the north. On July 4th, Lee and his army was returning South.

Abraham Lincoln was very circumspect, he just issued a statement. He was awaiting the outcome of the battle of Vicksburg, which would have divided the Confederacy and taken full control of the mighty Mississippi River. And that battle was still hanging in the balance. Or so Lincoln thought.

But as is often the case, the people were right. Gettysburg was huge. It all but guaranteed that Great Britain would not recognize the Confederacy. And unbeknown to them all, on that very day, Southern General Pemberton was surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant in Vicksburg and the Union was winning that battle too. So July 4, 1863 marked the turning point in the Civil War. And it was one of Lincoln’s greatest moments, he just didn’t find out about it until a few days later.

And that is how Abraham Lincoln came to give his July 4th speech, three days later on July 7, 1863.


July Fourth Trivia

July 5, 2009

Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July?
(John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died on the same day in 1826.)

What other presidents were near misses?
(On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended ceremonies for the Washington Memorial and returned to the White House for a bowl of cherries and milk. He became sick to his stomach that night and died five days later. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died several months later.)

How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th?
(Two)

When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
(July 8, 1776. Actually, the Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall to summon the crowd.)

On what date did most of the signers actually sign the doc?
(August 2, 1776)

Who was the oldest signatory?
(Ben Franklin. He was 70.)

Who was the youngest?
(Edward Rutledge. 26 years old. He owned 50 slaves. Later became governor of South Carolina.)

Which state had the most delegates sign?
( Pennsylvania. There were nine.)

Who was the last signatory of the Declaration of Independence?
(Thomas McKean, January, 1777. He was at one time the president of the continental congress, later became a governor of Pa.)

When did Abraham Lincoln give his 1863, July fourth address?
(On July 7, 1863. On July 4, citizens in Washington were celebrating what appeared to be a victory at Gettysburg and wanted Lincoln to give a speech but he would only issue a short proclamation. He was waiting to get a complete report and for further news out west, where General Grant was laying siege to Vicksburg. He later found out that Vicksburg had fallen on July 4th. Lincoln gave his speech three days late.)

What other countries celebrate the 4th of July?
(Denmark, Norway, Sweden and England.)

In what year did July 4 become a paid legal federal holiday?
(It became an unpaid federal holiday in 1870. And a lot of trivia sites say that it became a paid holiday in 1941 but it was actually passed by congress in 1938.)

How did Nathan’s, Fourth of July, Hot Dog contest begin?
(It started out as a dispute among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic. And so, that explains why this country is overweight. We are patriotic?)

What American President was famous for playing golf every Fourth of July?
(Dwight D. Eisenhower.)

What modern First Lady wore a bejeweled American Flag in her lapel on every Fourth of July? Pat Nixon, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton or Betty Ford?
(Jackie Kennedy. And the jewelry actually sells on e-bay.)

What pitcher threw a no hitter on the fourth of July?
(Dave Righetti of the NY Yankees in 1983. But perhaps the wildest game ever played happened on July 4 between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. It went 19 innings and ended close to 4 AM. Mets won 16-13.)


President’s Day

February 18, 2008

(Excerpt from appearnace on Fox and Friends)

Why is Presidents’ Day so important? 

It unites us as a people.  And it gives our youth common heroes.  We are divided by class, ethnicity, left and right on the political spectrum, religion and science but we come together in Washington, who walked away from power and Lincoln who held us together. So, even while we will be divided this year in a presidential contest, we do find common ground in some of our great leaders of the past. And then, there is the inspiration we get from having heroes, which is important and bit unique to Anglo American history.

 Why so? You write about why Americans need heroes.  Why do we make heroes out of our presidents? 

I think it reveals more about us than it does the men and women we celebrate.  We choose to have heroes.  You look at 500 years of French history and they can basically only name three, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc and Charles DeGaulle and there isn’t really unanimity on those.  The Germans really don’t have heroes.  The Australians have no Lincoln or Jefferson or Washington.  They can’t seem to unite on a single political leader in their history.  You ask them who their heroes are and they will say, “Nicole Kidman.”  So this hero business is very much an Anglo-American thing.

 Talk to us about George Washington 

Well, Washington is really very complicated and flawed.  He loved his neighbor’s wife and even in retirement tried to talk her into moving nearby.  But we choose to celebrate his grace and his integrity.  He walked away from power and that was unprecedented.  People have to be dragged away from power, kicking and screaming.  In Russia, you see President Putin hanging on, not letting go.  And contrast that with Washington, who didn’t have to leave the seat of power but left it anyway to set the precedent.

 And Lincoln is revered. 

Lincoln too was very complicated and flawed.  He was a very poor father, for example, his indulgence of Tad, his neglect of Robert Todd.  But we forgive that and we concentrate on his goodness and his willingness to endure the pain of so many personal losses and to carry the nation through its darkest days. That’s what I mean when I say it reveals more about us as a people.  We choose to believe the best about our leaders when we could just as easily choose to cast them in more complicated tones.

 You write that Lincoln actually got his inspiration from an idealized version of Washington. 

That’s right.  And it is very ironic.  Remember, as a boy, Lincoln practically memorized Parson Weems history of George Washington.  Now, today we know that most of what Weems wrote was invented.  Cutting down the cherry tree, for example, and declaring, “I cannot tell a lie.”

Well, Lincoln believed it all, as did his contemporaries, and ironically Lincoln strove to become this idealized version of George Washington.  He became “honest Abe.”  So this is a perfect example of how cherishing the good in a president, making him a hero, inspired another president to actualize it and live it out.

 How will history rank George W. Bush? 

It’s way too soon.  A survey of George Mason historians had 81% ranking him as a terrible president but that is frankly ridiculous.  Seven out of the last ten presidents are now ranked differently from their contemporaries.

Remember one president started an unprovoked war; his reasons later discredited by the world, betrayed his conservative base by over spending, suspended civil liberties and wrapped it all in religion.  Delegates actually left his last nominating convention singing, “Onward Christian Soldiers.”  His name was Theodore Roosevelt.  He invaded Bolivia and carved out a bogus country of Panama so he could build his canal.  And historians usually rank him third behind Washington and Lincoln, as the third greatest American president.  So the presidency of George W. Bush is very complicated and it should not be ranked so easily or so soon.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 485 other followers