What The Founding Fathers Probably Ate To Celebrate The 4th Of July

Every 4th of July, we celebrate the United States of America's independence from Great Britain in 1776. Our founding fathers signed their names on the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, stating our 13 colonies would no longer suffer tyranny, as History Extra explains. So, how does an event like this commemorate? A fate-altering decision must indeed have an annual celebration, right? Maybe they attended a soirée or ball to honor the moment. Perhaps, like most gatherings in the 18th century, the group came together in a fellow founding father's home for a feast.

While we may assume the recognition of such a significant moment required an elaborate evening — the truth is that the founding father's first annual meal on July 4, 1777, was not very extravagant. The group spent the night at their favorite 18th-century local pub. The drinks and conversations were plentiful as they cheered for a new stepping stone in The United States' history.

Founding fathers hit up the local pub on our country's 1st anniversary.

The founding fathers followed up their penmanship with an evening at Philadelphia's City Tavern — one year later. According to City Tavern's old website (as current management recently closed its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic according to Philly Voice), many of the country's most significant celebrations happened within their walls. In addition to the first annual July 4th gathering, the pub hosted the founding fathers after the signing of the Constitution in September 1787. It's even rumored (but not confirmed) that on the evening of July 4, 1776, the City Tavern was where the signees of the declaration went to commemorate their first movement toward democracy (via Food Timeline).

A night out at a local pub may seem the perfect way to celebrate an independent nation, but today's pubs do not reflect what taverns and bars looked like over 200 years ago. Replace your idea of a local bar filled with friendly faces and delicious pub dishes with (primarily) men drinking alcoholic beverages while eating less-than-desired food. 18th-century pubs traditionally focused on serving travelers who didn't have family or friends to stay with when passing through town. According to Food Timeline, the atmosphere of the pubs was geared toward providing alcoholic beverages, as men discussed business, news, and politics.

As far as what they ate — it's hard to predict exactly which meals the founding father consumed on July 4. However, we have a good idea of what kind of food pubs served back in the mid-to-late 1700s. Published in "Early American Taverns: For the Entertainment of Friends and Strangers", foods like ham, bacon, fowl, dried venison, Indian or Wheaten bread, butter, eggs, milk, and cheese were served. When it came to drinks, rum, brandy, whiskey, and 18th century gin, were popular beverages at the time (via Food Timeline). While the food was not very extravagant, their camaraderie and company were ostensibly all they needed.