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4th of July and New Jersey


Continental Army Reenactor Reloading MusketAs some people know, in addition to the founder of AboutNewJersey.com, I am also the VP of the Princeton Battlefield Society – the official friends group of Princeton Battlefield State Park and I also do the website for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. I am very involved with educating non-New Jerseyans as well as my fellow New Jerseyans on the importance of New Jersey on American history. Sadly when people say – “Revolutionary War” they generally think Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and to some extent New York – New Jersey seems to not fall much in the picture. Yet, New Jersey played a much larger role from start to finish than any other state in the nation, Washington spent more than 50% of his time fighting on New Jersey soil, the Turning Point of the Revolution took place in New Jersey, Washington had his first victories right HERE in New Jersey, the American Flag was designed by a New Jerseyan – Francis Hopkinson. 4th of July is just as much New Jersey celebration as it is an American celebration!

NJ Related Revolutionary War Facts

  1. Francis Hopkinson, a New Jerseyan and a member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, is credited with designing the American Flag.
  2. Thomas Paine, the famous pamphleteer who penned the words -“These are the times that try men souls” lived in NJ after emigrating from Europe.
  3. New Jersey declared it’s independence from Britain on July 2, 1776 with the signing of NJ’s 1776 Constitution in Burlington NJ.
  4. The last Royal Governor of New Jersey was Benjamin Franklin’s son, William Franklin, and was arrested after New Jersey declared it’s Independence from Britain in 1776.
  5. New Jersey is home to only surviving Royal Governor’s Mansion and is called the Proprietary House which is located in Perth Amboy.
  6. The famous Crossing of the Delaware took place Christmas Day and was planned as a surprise attack on the Hessians stationed at the Old Barracks in Trenton. (The Old Barracks is the only surviving free-standing barracks that was built for the French & Indian War)
  7. Battle of Trenton was Washington’s first victory and is commonly referred to as the turning point of the Revolution. (there were actually TWO Battles of Trenton on separate days)
  8. Battle of Princeton was Washington’s first victory over the British.
  9. The time period between the Crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Princeton was 10 days and is commonly referred to as the Ten Crucial Days because of it’s extreme importance to America eventually winning it’s independence.
  10. After winning at Trenton and Princeton, Washington marched his men to Morristown where he spent two grueling winters – far worse than anything that was experienced in fabled Valley Forge.
  11. The longest battle of the American Revolution took place in what is now Monmouth Battlefield State Park took place for two days in June 1778. Most soldiers died from heat stroke where the temperature was over 100 degrees.
  12. Washington had planned on having the Sandy Hook Lighthouse destroyed because it was a navigation aid to the British Navy and the entrance to NY Harbor. The Continental Army was unable to destroy the lighthouse and today it is the oldest lighthouse in North America, built in 1764.
  13. Fearing an army uprising, the Continental Congress met for four months in 1783 in Nassau Hall at what was then – the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University.
  14. Washington wrote his farewell address to his troops at where he was staying in Rockingham.
  15. While meeting in Princeton, the Continental Congress received word of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, thus officially ending the war.
  16. More battles were fought in New Jersey than any other state.
  17. Washington spent more than 50% of his time in NJ during the Revolutionary War.
  18. On March 2, 1933 Morristown National Historical Park became America’s first National Historical Park.
  19. In October 2006, President Bush signed legislation designating the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area in New Jersey encompassing 213 cities and towns and all or parts of 14 counties from Bergen to Gloucester. See the Crossroads of the American Revolution website for more information.
  20. The State of New Jersey acquired the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield on June 15, 1903 and lead to the founding of the NJ State Park system.

As you can see – celebrating the 4th of July is not just celebrating American History – but NEW JERSEY history as well. Spread the word about the historic importance of New Jersey. Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York have nothing over New Jersey when it comes to American Revolutionary War History. It is time that New Jerseyans took pride in it’s own history and let people know. Imagine – it is very possible that George Washington and his army marched through what is today your backyard. How many people in American can say that?!?!

During the Fourth of July festivities – remember the true meaning behind the day – the Declaration of Independence and the freedom of America. From Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the signing of the Treaty of Paris – we still had 7 long years of war. Sadly many Americans actually think that the 4th of July celebrates the victory of our freedom, but in actuality we had many many years left to win that freedom that we merely declared in 1776.

Happy 4th of July!!!!


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