Op-Ed: Think you know about Independence Day? Take this quiz and find out

(Kaan Tanman / Getty Images)

1. Which of these events actually happened on July 4, 1776?

A) The U.S. declared victory in the Revolutionary War.

B) A group of patriots dressed as Native Americans tossed British tea into the harbor to protest excessive taxes.

C) The Declaration of Independence was finalized.

D) The Constitution was finalized.

E) Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington and Concord to warn the patriots that the British would attack by sea.

2. On what date was the Declaration of Independence signed?

A) July 4, 1776, of course

B) Sept. 17, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention

C) Aug. 2, 1776, a month after it was written

D) Sept. 2, 1783, after the end of the Revolutionary War

3. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?

A) Boston, the birthplace of the revolution

B) Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital

C) Paris, at a neutral site during the Revolutionary War

D) Philadelphia, meeting place for the Continental Congress

4. Which Founding Father did NOT sign the Declaration of Independence?

A) Thomas Jefferson

B) Alexander Hamilton

C) Samuel Adams

D) Benjamin Franklin

5. Which of these phrases is NOT found in the Declaration of Independence?

A) We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…


B) Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

C) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….

D) Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

6. When was the first Fourth of July celebration?

A) In 1777, on the one-year anniversary

B) In 1865, to unify the country after the Civil War

C) In 1936, during the Great Depression

D) In 1786, on the 10-year anniversary

7. When was the first July 4 fireworks display?

A) 1900

B) 1851

C) 1777

D) 1928

8. When did July 4 become a federal holiday?

A) 1776

B) 1790

C) 1855

D) 1938

9. Where is the Declaration of Independence housed?

A) The White House

B) Ft. Knox

C) The National Archive

D) The Smithsonian Museum

10. Which president was born on July 4?

A) George Washington

B) Calvin Coolidge

C) Chester A. Arthur

D) Theodore Roosevelt

11. Which president died on July 4?

A) Thomas Jefferson

B) John Adams

C) James Monroe

D) All of the above

12. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams predicted the 4th of July would one day be celebrated with all of the following except:

A) Parades

B) Guns

C) Bonfires

D) Egg races


1) C. The text of the Declaration was edited and debated for several days, but finally approved by nine of the 13 colonies on July 4.

2) C. Although agreement was reached on July 4, the delegates didn’t sign the document until nearly a month after.

3) D. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written and approved in Independence Hall, which is still open to the public in Philadelphia today.

4) B. Though he played instrumental roles in the revolution and in crafting the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton did not sign the Declaration of Independence.

5) A. This phrase appears in the preamble of the Constitution.

6) A. The founders originally intended to mark July 2 the official Independence Day, though forgot to plan a celebration on the one-year anniversary. They instead pivoted to July 4, and Williamsburg’s Virginia Gazette reported on the event.

7) C. Fireworks were included in the very first July 4 celebration, with Philadelphia firing off 13 fireworks for each of the original colonies, according to the Virginia Gazette. It wasn’t until 1816, however, that fireworks became a staple across the nation.

8) D. In 1938, Congress officially declared July 4 a paid federal holiday.

9) C. However, for a brief period during World War II, the Declaration of Independence was moved to Ft. Knox, in fear of a surprise attack on Washington, D.C.

10) B. Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872, the only president born on the day.

11) D. That’s right: Three presidents have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on the same day in 1826, and James Monroe five years later in 1831.

12) D. Egg races. Would someone smart enough to help found a country think it made sense to run around trying to balance an egg on a spoon?

Brian Boyle is The Times editorial page intern.