On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This most American of holidays will be marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country. As we celebrate this Independence Day, we reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined the importance of statistics in our Constitution as a vital tool for measuring our people, places and economy.
The 56 signers to the Declaration of Independence included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston, the Committee of Five that drafted the declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.
It is also worth noting that John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer, and a merchant by trade. In 2015, there were 7.7 million business establishments with paid employees in the United States; 1.1 million, like Hancock, were in the retail trade industry.
And here’s a timeline infographic of the Census Bureau: