Yeah, But What Else Happened on the Fourth of July?

July 2, 2024

By Brian Boone

How important is the Fourth of July to Americans? Well, there aren’t any other holidays referred to by their date and month as often as their real name. But while July 4, 1776, factors majorly in U.S. History — it’s Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence from English rule — it’s a significant date for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.

A Single Presidential Birth. Future president Calvin Coolidge came into the world on this day in Vermont in 1872. A real-life “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” he’s the first and so far only president ever born on the Fourth of July. 

Near-Simultaneous Presidential Deaths. Remarkably and eerily, two of the Founding Fathers who helped create the very idea of the United States died on the same day — July 4, 1826, which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Each beat the other for the presidency and were political rivals who reached a tenuous peace. Jefferson was ill and willfully held out to die on July 4, and passed away around noon. That evening, Adams died after a long illness, and his lamenting final words were “Thomas Jefferson survives.” He hadn’t yet received the news that he indeed had outlived Jefferson.

Independence for The PhilippinesOn July 4, 1946, voters in the Philippines passed a measure to declare independence from the United States, which oversaw the nation since the Spanish-American War in 1898. The country ratified its constitution, and internationally, the Treaty of Manila was signed, recognizing the Philippines as a sovereign nation. 

The Post-War AusterityThe U.K. was so devastated by World War II that it took almost a full decade for the country to recover economically. Serious food rationing measures remained in place until July 4, 1954 — when Britons were free to buy and consume what they wanted without limitations. 

Casey Kasem Made It Count. On July 4, 1970, Casey Kasem — disc jockey and voice of Shaggy on the Scooby-Doo cartoons — counted down the hits from coast to coast for the first time on American Top 40. Coming in at #40: Marvin Gaye’s “End Of Our Road.” Ending the show, at #1: Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).”

Penicillin’s Parents Meet. On July 4, 1941, scientists Norman Heatley and Howard Florey met. A mere eleven days later, they replicated some cutting-edge research and made the first viable batch of penicillin, making the powerful, disease-eradicating medicine a scientific reality. 

Nuclear Power. Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist, received a patent on July 4, 1934, for a chain reaction chemical design. This would directly lead to the creation of the atomic bomb a decade later.

A Brutal Murder and TV Inspiration. Marilyn Sheppard was murdered in her bed in her Los Angeles Home on July 4, 1954. Her husband, Sam Sheppard, was convicted of the murder, for which he was ultimately exonerated. He blamed a mysterious intruder and it took Sheppard years to clear his name, a story that directly led to the creation of the 1960s hit TV drama The Fugitive

READ MORE: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,