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Maps / US Map / 4th July / History of 4th of July

History of 4th of July

Thomas Jefferson the 3rd President of US
Overview
Independence Day in the United States of America is celebrated on July 4th. The holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which announced the separation of America from Great Britain. The 4th of July is a day to celebrate the United States, its freedom, and to display patriotism and unity as a country.

History

Why Did the Colonies Declare Independence From Britain? America's journey toward independence began years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Thirteen Colonies, governed by British Parliament, had been formed in North America. The colonists began to gradually separate from their homeland, wedged apart by differing views on how the New World should be governed. Great Britain, in debt after the Seven Years War, imposed several laws on the colonies, such as the Stamp Act in 1765, the Tea Act (which resulted in the Boston Tea Party) in 1773, which imposed taxes on the colonies. Colonists protested these taxes because their interests were not being represented in Parliament, leading to their slogan "No Taxation without Representation."

Great Britain responded with what became known as the Intolerable Acts (or Coercive Acts) in 1774, a series of laws that punished the colonists for their resistance.
This series of acts exacerbated the conflict between the colonies and Great Britain, and were some of the major factors that lead to the American Revolution.
With tensions increasing between the colonies and Great Britain, representatives from the 13 colonies began to meet and plan their opposition, forming a Continental Congress with representatives from across the colonies, which ultimately lead to the American Revolutionary War, which broke out in 1775.

The 2nd Continental Congress met in Philadelphia shortly after the start of the Revolutionary War. During the June 7, 1776 meeting, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, brought forth a resolution to sever ties with Britain. Congress was unable to reach an agreement on the resolution, and delegates from five colonies were not yet authorized to vote on the issue, so they voted to postpone the discussion. The delegates returned to their colonies to secure support for declaring independence. In the meantime, a committee was formed to draft the declaration, called the Committee of Five. The five members of the committee were:
  • John Adams, Massachusetts
  • Roger Sherman, Connecticut
  • Robert Livingston, New York
  • Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Jefferson, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson drafted the declaration and brought it before the committee, who debated, revised, and amended the document. On June 28, they presented the declaration to the Continental Congress. On July 2, 1776, Congress voted in favor of declaring independence from Britain. The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted on July 4, 1776. Though it is unknown exactly when the Declaration of Independence was signed, most historians believe it occurred on August 2nd, almost one month later.
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