A Reese Witherspoon Independence Day

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t actually contain the words “declaration of independence?” Of course, if you read the document from start to finish you do get the idea pretty quickly. While it’s probably easiest to remember the flourishes of poetic inspiration like, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” we often miss out on the real boots-to-the-ground reasons the American colonists were a little ticked. Altogether, the document brought 27 grievances against the King and British parliament, including the imposition of unfair taxes, cutting off trade from the colonies, and acts of violence and cruelty “totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.”

July 4th is deemed the birthday of the united States, but it was on July 2nd that the Continental Congress actually voted for independence. John Hancock was the only one who signed it on the 4th, while most delegates signed on August 2nd, and there were other who didn’t sign until months later. Many people love to try and trace their family tree back to one of the original signatories of the Declaration, including actress Reese Witherspoon, who claims to be a direct descendant of John Witherspoon, a delegate from New Jersey who signed the document.

There are so many more interesting and fun facts about the birth and history of our nation, I think I’ll make a July 4th resolution (or perhaps a revolution) to read more about our wonderful country and its beginnings.