Independence Day: Why the 4th of July?

The 4th of July is one of the most American holidays out there. Many Americans take part in the festivities by wearing red, white and blue, hosting BBQ cookouts, attending parades, and watching fireworks shows. With so much emphasis put on the celebration of the holiday, it is sometimes easy to forget what is being celebrated in the first place.

Independence Day is a celebration of American history; specifically, it commemorates the beginning of America as an independent nation, not as a British colony. One of the things most associated with Independence Day and American independence is the Declaration of Independence, which cites the right of Americans to reject British rule and establish America as its own nation, separate from Britain.

However, July 4, 1776 was not the day when the Declaration of Independence was written, the day the Declaration of Independence was delivered to Great Britain, or the day the American Revolutionary War began. July 4, 1776 was simply the day when the Continental Congress agreed on the final edits and changes to the draft of the Declaration of Independence, which was submitted on July 2, 1776.

The 4th of July was celebrated early in American history, but not on the massive scale that it is celebrated today. In fact, Congress didn’t declare the 4th of July as a national holiday until 1941. One of the main reasons that the 4th of July was chosen as the date for the holiday is because both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (presidents #2 and #3) died on that day, giving the date extra significance in American history.

Many of the activities associated with 4th of July celebrations, such as picnics and barbeques, became tradition mainly because they’re perfect for the summer weather in which Independence Day takes place. Fireworks on the 4th of July is a tradition that dates all the way back to the Independence Day celebration in 1777. John Adams predicted and supported the use of fireworks, along with parades and military processions, in the celebration of the holiday. Thus, fireworks became an integral part of the festivities.

 

Happy 4th of July everyone! Enjoy the holiday!

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Sources: 1, 2, 3

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