Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Happy birthday, America! Am I right?

Not entirely.

Like every other significant and momentous historical event, there are lots of fallacies, legends, and myths surrounding America’s Independence Day. For one, did you know that the Continental Congress voted for independence from England on July 2nd, not July 4th?  The document itself was dated the fourth, hence our national day of drinking, barbecuing, and blowing each other up with fireworks falls two days later than it might have had the document date not diverged from the date of the vote.

To truly love your country, as we all no doubt do, you must truly know your country. That means that you must learn as much about its history as you are able, so that you understand from whence our traditions, legends, and myths originate. Our intention here is not to dissect these myths for the sake of derision, but rather, to explore them and dig deeper into our rich historical foundation. We are excavating our history for the gold nuggets of historical accuracy.

So, with that preface, here are five “myths” for us to explore surrounding revolution-era America. Enjoy your Independence Day truth bomb.

Myth 1: All colonial Americans in 1776 were patriots who wanted to leave the “evil” British Empire.

Fact: It is likely that the “patriots” in colonial America were a minority. Simply put, the idea of leaving the British Empire was frightening to many. The Empire offered security, commercial opportunity, and various rights and privileges that came with English Common Law. Many in America, called “loyalists,” did not want to sever ties with Britain.  Some, like William Franklin, illegitimate son of Benjamin, and governor of New Jersey, were even respected figures at the time.

There were also those who were not necessarily loyalists, but who were more accurately described as “moderates,” or neutral. They would be today’s political independents, who simply wanted to get on with their lives, tend to their own business, and be safe and secure under whichever government (British or free American) that prevailed.