The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day or July 4th, has been a federal holiday since 1941 in the United States
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
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
Fourth of July Becomes a Federal Holiday
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812
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