America’s Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4th, aka “the Fourth of July,” the anniversary of the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776.
By Anna Kim
Independence Day is a patriotic holiday for celebrating the positive aspects of the United States with patriotic displays and family events organized throughout the country.
Activities associated with the day include watermelon or hot dog eating competitions and sporting events, such as baseball games, three-legged races, swimming activities and tug-of-war games. Plenty of people display the American flag outside their homes or buildings, and a variety of communities arrange fireworks that are often accompanied by patriotic music. The Statue of Liberty, a national monument that is associated with Independence Day, has a pretty good crowd on that day.
What’s the history of Independence Day?
The original United States of America was made up of a collection of East Coast states known as the Thirteen Colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island & Providence Plantations.
While the relations between the settlers and British was once amicable, dissatisfaction and tension began to grow over British laws and taxes, such as the Sugar Act, driven by British financial needs. There was also a growing sense of nationalism in the country.
“No taxation without representation,” was the battle cry in America’s thirteen colonies, which were forced to pay taxes to England’s King George III despite having no representation in the British Parliament. This tension erupted into fighting and acts of dissent, such as the Boston Tea Party in 1773, which was a protest against the legislation, the Tea Act, which gave the British East India Company a monopoly on sales of tea in the Thirteen Colonies. British troops were sent in to quell the early movement toward rebellion. Repeated attempts by the Colonists to resolve the crisis without military conflict proved fruitless.
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates by Thomas Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer. A total of 86 changes were made to his draft and the Continental Congress officially adopted the final version on July 4th, 1776.
In a unanimous declaration of the thirteen colonies, “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which the Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and Presidents of the United States, died on July 4th, 1826—exactly 50 years after the adoption of the declaration.
American citizens celebrate the Fourth of July with all the fervor and joy that they can muster.
“We humbly thank the men who gave us our Declaration of Independence, which will remain for future generations of Americans the beacon of liberty and the upholder of our divine unalienable rights,” said Lucia Sesston, Duluth. “The wording of Declaration of Independence must be written in the hearts and minds of our citizens so that we never forget the price paid for our freedom.”