When America has a birthday, the president is expected to throw it a party.
While most of us honour our nation with a cookout and some fireworks, US presidents deliver patriotic speeches, honour troops, and even plan wars.
Others have used the time to recline in presidential fashion, and several have even died on America’s birthday.
Here are some of the most interesting ways presidents have celebrated the Fourth of July.
George Washington fell ill on July 4, 1789 and spent the nation's 13th birthday in bed. In fairness to Washington, Fourth of July celebrations didn't really catch on until about 1820, and Independence Day wasn't declared a federal holiday until 1870.
Thomas Jefferson, one of two Presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence, started the White House tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July with the first Independence Day reception in 1801. He is also one of three presidents to die on July 4, along with America's second president, John Adams and its fifth president, James Monroe.
On July 4, 1828, John Quincy Adams attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the excavation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at Little Falls located just above Georgetown. He also gave an address, accompanied by music from the US Marine Band.
Zachary Taylor probably had the worst Fourth of July of any president in US history. After attending a ceremony at the Washington Monument on a very hot day in 1850, Taylor went to an outdoor party where he reportedly indulged in a bowl of cherries and cream that had been in the sun all day. Over the following days, Taylor suffered from stomach pains and vomiting. He died a few days later, though the exact cause of death has been a source of debate.
On July 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln called a special session of Congress to ask for more resources to fight the Civil War. Two years later, on July 4, 1863, the Confederate Army surrendered at Vicksburg, marking a turning point for the Union in the Civil War.
On July 4, 1870, Ulysses S. Grant was on the presidential train in New England heading for Woodstock, Connecticut. When he arrived in Woodstock, he heard a speech by social reformer Henry Ward Beecher.
In 1881, James A. Garfield spent July 4th in bed after being shot twice two days earlier in an assassination attempt by Charles Guiteau. He died from his injuries on September 19. He had only served four months in office.
On July 4, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech to a crowd of 200,000 at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh.
On July 4, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson gave an address at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. During this speech, he uttered the famous words 'our country, right or wrong.' Wilson spent July 4, 1917 trying to come up with a plan for US military action in World War I.
On July 4, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially turned the library he built in his name in Hyde Park, New York over to the federal government, making it the first presidential library in the US.
On July 4, 1952, President Harry Truman attended a Washington Senators baseball game at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C., but left early because of rain. The Yankees would go on to beat the Senators that day 9 to 4.
Dwight D. Eisenhower played a LOT of golf. He spent four out of seven of his Independence Days as president on the links.
On July 4, 1961, the Kennedy administration asked Congress for permission to deploy 'anti-subversive' military actions in Latin America.
For America's bicentennial celebration, President Gerald Ford hosted a huge celebration at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the site where the American army camped the winter of 1777 during the Revolutionary War.
Source: American Presidency Project
Although he was still recovering from an assassination attempt in 1981, Ronald Reagan managed to have some fun at his first White House Independence Day picnic.
On July 4 in 2000, Bill Clinton and his family visited New York to view the largest maritime assemblage in American history.
Source: ABC News
On July 4, 2005, George W. Bush celebrated his 60th birthday two days early with the troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Last year for the Fourth of July, President Barack Obama spoke at a naturalization ceremony for active-duty service members and civilians. Later, Barack and Michelle Obama hosted military heroes and their families at a White House special Independence Day event. The president ended the day by taking in a fireworks display.
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