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The Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4th, 1776, is both a symbol of American liberty and an enduring monument to the philosophy of America’s forefathers. The ideas expressed in the document were those of John Locke and the Continental philosophers, but Thomas Jefferson presented them in a new way: as absolute “self evident” truths. This appealed to the general public, and helped Jefferson to justify his breaking of ties with Europe.
Today, Independence Day is more than a celebration of this important moment in history. It’s also an opportunity for robust American fun: fireworks, hot dogs, excessive drinking, and lounging about in the summer sun. Here are infographics that explore the history, patriotism, pyrotechnics, and personal excesses of one of this country’s favorite holidays.
Interesting Facts About Our Nation’s Birthday
America was a different place back in 1776 with only 25 million people. Benjamin Franklin was the Declaration’s oldest signer (at 70) while Edward Rutledge was its youngest (at 26). The infographic below offers up some little known information about the 4th.
BBQ, Beer, and the Pursuit of Celebration
Independence is a good reason to celebrate, and Americans do it, in abundance. For example, more beer is sold and consumed on Independence Day than on any other holiday.
DUI Holiday: Drinking on July 4th
Speaking of beer, more people are arrested for DUI on the 4th than on any other day of the year. If you’re out and about this Independence Day, beware. This is the most dangerous holiday to be driving a car.
Eating Healthy on Independence Day
Healthy eating and the 4th of July are not likely bedfellows. Hamburgers slathered in cheese, American apple pie, sugary sodas, greasy potato chips, and pasta salad dripping with mayonnaise are the orders of the day. Most American revelers aren’t terribly interested in substituting fresh fruit for ice cream or seltzer for Coke. But, for those committed health conscious few, the infographic below offers some suggestions for figure-friendly alternatives to the traditional holiday staples. (Note: look to the end of the infographic for these suggestions.)
Money to Burn: The Complete Guide to 4th of July Fireworks
No Independence Day celebration would be complete without the ubiquitous fireworks display. What could be better for celebrating freedom than giant, exploding fireballs spreading with deafening exuberance across the night sky?
But fireworks don’t come cheap: they are a $600 million industry in the U.S. And they aren’t terribly safe: even the seemingly benign sparkler burns at temperatures up to 1800 degrees.
Love fireworks as much as we do? Take a look at our special round-up blog post dedicated to fireworks here.
The Most Patriotic Cities in the United States
Beneath the discarded paper cups; beer cans; and red, white, and blue napkins, their lies a deep-seated patriotism – a love of country that pervades the July 4th holiday like so much confetti and bunting. Today, independence and freedom are American birthrights, but that wasn’t always the case. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was the moment freedom was written into the official American canon.
The infographic below highlights America’s most patriotic cities based on voter turnout, and spending on vets, flags, and fireworks. It may not provide a true, empirical look at who loves this country most, but it does illustrate who is the most motivated to celebrate it.
Anni Murray is a writer, editor, multimedia artist, amateur mycologist, and biology student. She is currently working on Prism, a speculative science fiction story cycle. All opinions expressed in this article are her own. Follow her on Twitter.