Hi friends!

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day or July 4th, has been a federal holiday since 1941 in the United States.

The traditions of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later–July 4th–delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, the historical document created by Thomas Jefferson.

From that year, 1776, up-to-now, July 4th has been celebrated as the birthday of the American Independence.

The 4th of July celebrations range from fireworks, parades, and concerts to the most casual family gatherings and barbecues.

A Bit of History

When the initial Revolutionary War battles broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired to be completely independent of Great Britain, they were considered radical.

By mid-1776, many more colonists were favoring the independence, due to the growing hostility against Britain and the continuous spread of revolutionary sentiments like those expressed in pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776. 

On June 7, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. The Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee called for the colonies’ independence.

There was a heated debate, but in the end, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution. Nevertheless, they appointed a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York. They were in charge of drafting a formal statement justifying the dependence from Great Britain.

Did you know?

John Adams liked July 2nd to celebrate the birth of American independence and purposely turned down invitations to appear on July 4th events.

As a joke of fate, Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the American Independence.

On July 2nd, the Congress finally voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence with a nearly unanimous vote.
That same day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2nd “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that celebrations should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Fourth of July Celebrations Along Time

Long ago, in the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held the King’s birthday annual celebration, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions, and speech making.

However, that summer of 1776 colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy in America and the victory of freedom.

As a matter of fact, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.

George Washing celebrated the Independence Anniversary with his soldiers in 1778 and then in 1781, several months before the final American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts, the first state the made July 4th an official holiday.

In the years after the independence, people would hold concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually followed by public readings of the Declaration of Independence.

Fourth of July Becomes a Federal Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812.

The United States again faced and defeated Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded as a paid holiday to all federal employees.

Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline; although to citizens, Independence Day remains an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism, with the American flag as its most representative symbol.

Ever since Americans have continued to celebrate Independence Day every year. This has allowed political leaders to approach the citizens and create a feeling of unity.

We still hold concerts and parades. Fireworks remind us of the years of struggle that are now past. We still celebrate with picnics and barbecues at home, whether we have large parties with family and friends or small gathering.

What really matters is always to celebrate this day and to keep this sentiment and respect for our nation.







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