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Independence Day - 4th of July

4th of July Infographic
Independence Day in the United States of America is celebrated on July 4. The day commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain. The Fourth of July celebrates the country’s freedom, and displays the patriotism and unity of the people.
The Fourth of July in the US is a federal holiday. Some of the prominent leaders of the United States, including George Washington (the first president of the USA), Thomas Jefferson (the principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence) and many other founders of Continental Congress, declared July 4, 1776, as the US Independence Day.
Flag of United States However, there are many people who do not know why the Fourth of July is celebrated.
This is most important day in the history of the United States, as on this day Americans finally decided to declare independence from the British rule. Initially, there were 13 states that had collectively participated in the Declaration of Independence. People in all the 50 states of the country celebrate Independence Day with great enthusiasm.
On the eve of Fourth of July, Americans pay tributes to all those soldiers who died in the war of Independence and to all the great leaders whose efforts resulted in the Americans getting the country free from the British rule.
Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

4th of July Celebrations and Fireworks

Fourth of July is celebrated in various ways around the country. Celebrations comprise parades, barbeques, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, concerts, political speeches and ceremonies all in praise of the freedom and greatness of the country.
The Fourth of July celebrations date back to 1777. The year saw 13 gunshots fired in salute, both in the morning and evening, in the states of Rhode Island and Philadelphia. The next year saw a doubling of the ration of rum for soldiers, as well as an artillery salute. In 1779, Fourth of July fell on a Sunday hence the celebrations were shifted to the next day. It was only in 1938 that the Fourth of July became a paid federal holiday.
There are various acts that have become customary while celebrating the Fourth of July. There is in general an outburst of patriotic fervor among the crowds. Most celebrations are held outdoors. Many public events are held and people generally indulge in picnics barbeques, getaways and family reunions.
The public and private places throughout the country are decorated in red, white and blue colors, which symbolize the American flag. Earlier, the eve of the Fourth of July celebrations were marked by bonfires. An earlier custom of a gun salute with one gun per state (known as the "salute to the Union") was also an essential feature.
It is also customary to sing songs of American patriotism such as the national anthem, "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", "This Land is Your Land" and "Stars and Stripes forever."
But nothing is more synonymous with Fourth of July than a display of fireworks. Many states across the country celebrate the day with the bursting of fireworks. In fact, the use of fireworks for Fourth of July celebrations can be traced back to July 3, 1776, a day before the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams on this particular day was reported to have stated that "the day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
It was thus that year onwards that fireworks played an important and indispensable role in the celebrations. Even in the very first celebration of independence, fireworks were part and parcel of the display.
All in all, this holiday is a symbol of freedom celebrated throughout the country. It is also a source of inspiration to people seeking freedom from oppressive rule.

Independence Day Facts

Why is the Fourth of July the national holiday of the United States?

It was on the Fourth of July, 1776, that the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. They had actually voted to declare independence from Great Britain two days earlier, on July 2, but did not finalize the document until the 4th. Future President John Adams and others even predicted after the vote that July 2 might become America’s national holiday, but it turned out that the date of the Declaration of Independence’s finalization became far more well-known amongst the public.

What was the Continental Congress?

The Continental Congress was made up of delegates from the American colonies during the Revolutionary War. The object of the First Continental Congress (in 1774) was to make joint decisions regarding colonial rights in the face of the British rule, while the Second Continental Congress (1775-1776) had to decide what to do about the future in the light of the military conflicts that had already taken place. All of the colonies were represented except Georgia, which later sent representatives to the Second Continental Congress in time for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress governed the United States during this time and instituted its first federal government with the Articles of Confederation. Later on, all of this would form the basis of the U.S. Constitution, and everything that defines the nation as we know it today.

Who signed the Declaration of Independence?

The Declaration of Independence was signed by a total of fifty-six men representing the thirteen original colonies of Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. The largest and most famous physical signature on the document is that of John Hancock, who was the President of Congress at the time. It also includes the signatures of notable Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Historians have often debated whether the Declaration of Independence was, in fact, signed on July 4th rather than a later date. The truth of the matter can never be completely known, but a large number of historians believe that it was not signed at once, and that many of the signers added their names on or after August 2, 1776.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

The main author of the Declaration of Independence is considered to be Thomas Jefferson, one of the major Founding Fathers of the United States. However, it is known that the Continental Congress made some changes to the document in order to make it acceptable to all the representatives of the various colonies. The Declaration of Independence was also never intended to be an expression of any one person’s opinions, but a summation of the colonies’ frustrations with Great Britain and their intentions to break away from the rule of its government.

Did the Declaration of Independence end the Revolutionary War?

The American Revolution had been raging for a year before the Declaration of Independence was adopted, but the most decisive battles were yet to come. After the revolutionary forces suffered some major defeats, the British demanded that the Declaration of Independence be withdrawn in exchange for peace. This was not done, and the battles continued for several more years. Finally, in 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed thereby ending hostilities between Great Britain and the United States, and acknowledging the American claim to independence.

When did Americans start celebrating the Fourth of July?

Americans have been celebrating the day since the Declaration of Independence was first signed in 1776. However, it took a long time for it to become the official national holiday of the United States. “Independence Day,” as it began to be called in the early 1790s, was recognized by some states but did not become a federal holiday until the year 1870. Nevertheless, this important anniversary has been recognized by most Americans, whether formally or informally, since the birth of the nation.

How has Independence Day been observed over the years?

Americans traditionally celebrate their Independence Day with picnics, barbecues, nighttime firework displays, and other patriotic acts such as flying the American flag. Many of the earliest celebrations, which still continue to this day, encompass military demonstrations such as the thirteen gun salute in honor of the thirteen original colonies. There are also tons of unique or whimsical celebrations, like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York (said to have resulted from a dispute between four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic). The 4th of July has come to be one of the most beloved holidays among the American people, signifying both the potential for summer fun and the pride that comes along with freedom.

Last Updated : July 3, 2015

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