America celebrates Independence Day every year on July 4th. It is also known commonly as The Fourth Of July.
The day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence signed by all 13 colonies that marked the beginning of America's Independence.
It is a federal holiday, and as such businesses, schools, and federal offices are closed.
If the 4th falls on a weekend, it is observed on the previous Friday or the following Monday.
The History of Independence Day
The American Revolutionary War began in April of 1775, at a time when Americans were unhappy with the British ruling of the colonies.
This hostility towards the country was furthered in 1776 with the publication of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet titled “Common Sense”.
On June 7th,1776 a Congress with representatives from all colonies met in Philadelphia.
It was during this meeting that Richard Henry Lee made a compelling argument in favor of the colonies independence from Britain.
So, a committee was formed, comprising five American household names: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Benjamin Franklin.
They were tasked with drafting a formal document declaring the independence of the colonies from Great Britain, with the intent of forming their nation.
Thomas Jefferson wrote most of the Declaration with the help of others in revising and improving it.
Jefferson's political background and experience with writing other statements in the nation's defense made him most suitable for this job.
After its completion, Congress unanimously cast its votes in favor of the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, and it was officially adopted on July 4th.
The Declaration of Independence contained five sections:
- the introduction
- the preamble
- the body is divided into two sections and
- the conclusion
On July 8th, 1776, the Declaration had its first public reading and brought a feeling of relief and victory to the young nation.
July 4th was officially made a federal holiday by Congress in 1870, even though States already held a state holiday on the day.
In 1941, a law was passed turning it into a paid holiday for federal employees that became a bigger symbol of patriotism over the years.
The day of July 4th has been since known as America’s Birthday.
Early Independence Day Celebrations
The colonies celebrated the British King's birthday before independence by throwing parades and organizing bonfires in his honor. However, all these traditions were cast aside in 1776.
In the resurgence of their freedom, fake funerals were being held to symbolize the end of the monarchy in the colonies.
Fourth of July celebrations always have taken the shape of concerts, bonfires, and parades, as well as the public readings of the Declaration of Independence.
The first annual Independence Day celebrations were held in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1777, even though the war was still taking place.
Why Is Independence Day Celebrated
Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th into a state holiday in 1781, before America won the war.
The Fourth of July quickly became the American holiday to be celebrated with the most fervor.
It marked the biggest victory for the country:
After the war, people celebrated the day as there was a brand new feeling of unity amongst all Americans and their new governors.
The Significance Of The Fourth Of July Today
Today, the Fourth of July is one of the biggest celebrations in the country.
People hold many family celebrations, by organizing picnics and barbecues and celebrating American political freedom.
Traditionally, this is the day for eating competitions, of food such as pies and hotdogs, and sports, like baseball, the big American game.
People will decorate their homes with the American flag, hold fireworks displays and listen to patriotic music or watch American movies and films.
Independence Day is mostly a day to pay tribute to those of the first American generation who fought for their freedom.