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Test your knowledge of US history: Fun facts and falsehoods edition

The US Constitution and an American flag.

July is well known in the United States as the month our country became independent…or was it? Uncover some lesser-known stories about America’s history with these fun true-or-false questions.

1. True or false: The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4. 

True. While July Fourth is celebrated as Independence Day, most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence actually put pen to paper on August 2, 1776. The Fourth of July is when the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration

2. True or false: Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. 

False. While Betsy Ross is often credited with sewing the first flag, and her grandson started to popularize this story in the 1870s, there is no historical evidence to support this claim. 

3. True or false: Two former presidents died on the same day. 

True. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. 

4. True or false: Benjamin Franklin rallied to make the turkey the national bird of the United States. 

False. Benjamin Franklin initially criticized the original eagle design for the Great Seal of the United States, saying the turkey was more original to America and much more respectable. But he didn’t officially propose the turkey as an alternative to the bald eagle. 

5. True or false: George Washington’s teeth were made of wood. 

False. Contrary to popular belief, George Washington’s dentures were not made of wood. His dentures were typically constructed of human materials, metal alloys and even cow and horse teeth. 

6. True or false: Paul Revere shouted, “The British are coming!” 

False. Paul Revere’s midnight ride was supposed to warn patriots that the British were approaching. However, this was a covert mission as many British troops were hiding throughout the Massachusetts countryside, so he never shouted that famous phrase. 

7. True or false: The first Independence Day celebration was held on July 8, 1776. 

False. The first celebration of American independence was held on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thirteen cannons were discharged from each armed ship in the river, representing the Thirteen United States. 

8. True or false: The U.S. Congress made Independence Day a paid holiday in 1870. 

False. In 1870, Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees in the United States. It wasn’t until 1938 that it changed to a paid federal holiday. 

9. True or false: George Washington refused to serve a third term as president. 

True. After serving two terms, George Washington didn’t serve a third time, as he’d promised not to seek unfair power as a government official. His refusal helped establish a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that was codified in the 22nd Amendment

10. True or false: The Liberty Bell cracked the first time it was rung. 

True. The first version of the Liberty Bell cracked the first time it was rung in 1752 during a test strike due to the metal being too brittle. It was recast twice but still has damage, of which many tales have been told

11. True or false: George Washington never lived in the White House. 

True. While he selected the site for and oversaw the construction of the White House, George Washington never lived in it. John Adams moved into the house in 1801, and it has been the home of every president since. 

12. True or false: 56 members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. 

True. Many members of the Continental Congress started signing the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. John Hancock’s signature was in the middle, and other delegates signed by state delegation.