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Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a national holiday and is typically marked by patriotic displays and events, such as fireworks and parades.

History of Independence Day

Independence Day in the United States commemorates the country’s independence from British rule on July 4, 1776. The day marks the formation of the Declaration of Independence, a document that declared the colonies’ independence from Great Britain and outlined the principles of freedom, democracy, and the idea of self-governance that have come to be associated with the United States.

Signed by the Continental Congress, a group of representatives from the 13 colonies, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence stated that the colonies were “free and independent states” and listed a number of grievances against the British monarchy, including the lack of representation in the British government, excessive taxation, and the use of troops to enforce laws and suppress civil liberties.

The Declaration of Independence was a key moment in the American Revolution, a conflict that lasted from 1775 to 1783 and ended with the defeat of the British and the founding of the U.S. as its own nation. The Fourth of July has been celebrated as Independence Day in the United States ever since.

Independence Day Timeline

June 17, 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill

British soldiers under the command of General Howe launch a major attack on the fortified positions held by colonial militia outside of Boston. Despite being outnumbered, the militia put up a fierce resistance and inflict significant casualties on the British forces, who ultimately succeed in taking the hill but at a high cost.[1]

July 6, 1775

Justification of the colonies’ military actions

The Continental Congress issues a statement outlining the reasons why the colonies have taken up arms against Britain, including complaints about violations of their rights as British citizens and the use of force by Britain to impose unjust laws.[2]

August 23, 1775

British monarch formally declares war on the colonies

King George III delivers a speech to the British parliament in which he declares the colonies to be in a state of rebellion and calls for military action to quell the uprising. This formal declaration of war further solidifies the colonists’ resolve to fight for their independence.[3]

January 9, 1776

Pamphlet advocating for American independence becomes a bestseller

Thomas Paine publishes a highly influential pamphlet, “Common Sense,” which argues for American independence from Britain. The pamphlet becomes a bestseller and helps to rally public opinion in favor of independence.[4]

July 4, 1776

The Declaration of Independence is adopted

After much debate and discussion, the Continental Congress votes in favor of a resolution of independence, effectively severing political ties with Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, is adopted, setting the colonies on the path to becoming the United States of America.[5]

How to Celebrate Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated on July 4th every year In the U.S. Some traditional ways to celebrate include:

Attending a Parade

Many communities hold parades on Independence Day, featuring floats, marching bands, and other patriotic displays.

Watching Fireworks

Fireworks displays are a popular way to celebrate Independence Day. Many cities and towns hold public fireworks displays, or you can have your own display at home.

Having a Barbecue or Cookout

Independence Day is often celebrated with outdoor gatherings, such as barbecues or cookouts. Grilling up burgers, hot dogs, and other American classics is a popular way to celebrate.

Flying the American Flag

Displaying the American flag is a common way to show patriotism on Independence Day.

Participating in a Community Event

Many communities hold Independence Day events, such as festivals, carnivals, or picnics. Attending one of these events is a great way to celebrate the holiday.

Independence Day FAQs

What is Independence Day?

Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared the thirteen American colonies as no longer being subject to British rule.[1]

What is the history of Independence Day?

Independence Day marks the official separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and the formation of the United States of America. The Continental Congress voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and it was adopted on the same day.

Why is the Declaration of Independence important?

The Declaration of Independence is an important document in American history because it announced to the world the colonies’ intention to break away from British rule and become an independent nation. It also laid out the principles of liberty and equality upon which the United States was founded.[2]

What does the American flag symbolize on Independence Day?

The American flag symbolizes freedom, independence, and national unity on Independence Day. It is often displayed prominently during Independence Day celebrations as a symbol of the country’s history and values.[3]

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