Robert Dilenschneider
Robert Dilenschneider

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

– Abraham Lincoln

On Thursday we celebrate Independence Day, the 243rd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

The political significance of the holiday has waned, and it is now mostly a day of fireworks, picnics, parades, family reunions and many other forms of commemoration.

All that is important and we hope you have a good time. But please do take a moment in these challenging times to reflect on the significance of the day, since how we handle the period ahead as we move toward the 2020 election will define the long-term future so important to our nation.

The following facts may be of interest:

• The Declaration of Independence began as a letter to King George III to explain why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain.

• It was on June 7, 1776, at a meeting of the Continental Congress in the Pennsylvania State House that Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.

• On July 2nd the Continental Congress voted nearly unanimously in favor of Lee’s resolution—New York initially abstained, but later voted yes.

• John Adams believed July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly decline invitations to July 4th events.

• Due to concerns about cracking, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Every year it is tapped 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies to signal the country’s bells to start ringing.

• There were 2.5 million people living in the new free nation in 1776. The nation’s estimated population on July 4, 2018, was 327 million.

• Although the first official census was not conducted until 1790, the estimated population figures of the 13 colonies (then and now) are interesting to note:

  THEN (1776) NOW
Pennsylvania 434,373 12,807,060
Virginia 747,610 8,517,685
Massachusetts 378,787 6,902,149
New Jersey 184,139 8,908,520
Connecticut 237,946 3,572,665
Maryland 319,728 6,042,718
New York 340,210 19,542,209
South Carolina 249,073 5,084,127
Delaware 59,094 967,171
Georgia 82,548 10,519,475
New Hampshire 141,885 1,356,458
North Carolina 393,751 10,383,620
Rhode Island 68,825 1,057,315


The value of fireworks imported into the United States in 2018 was approximately $332 million.

• Barbecues and picnics are a traditional part of the July 4th holiday. Supporting this are the approximately 5,000 meat markets, 650 snack food manufacturers and roughly 700 nature parks in the U.S.

As we celebrate July 4th with family and friends, take a moment to be thankful for those who forged the path to our nation’s independence. Though we are making our way in a world that is extremely challenging, we are still a nation that believes in striving for the best and making the world a better place. That is something we should never lose sight of.

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Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder and chairman of The Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations and communications consulting firm headquartered in New York City. The former CEO of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., he is also author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling “Power and Influence.”