Why Do We Celebrate the 4th of July?Jun 30, 2022 07:33PM ● By Dr. Rodger
You may wonder, “Why do we celebrate the 4th of July? What does it mean?” Well, this day is incredibly significant in American history, as it marks the day the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776, and thus, America was born. American citizens celebrate America’s birthday with festivals, parades, fireworks, barbecues, sparklers, and other festive activities.
Tensions started brewing when Great Britain began passing legislation that gave it more control within the colonies, especially when it came to taxing the colonists. The Crown was in debt after the French and Indian War, so it started taxing the American colonies to increase revenue. The passage of legislation like the Stamp Act in March 1765, the Townshend Acts in June and July of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773 forced colonists to pay more money to Great Britain even though the colonies didn’t have a say in the Crown’s policies. This became known as taxation without representation and quickly became a heated pillar in the foundation of the American Revolution.
Events such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party further escalated tensions between British occupiers and American colonists. Those tensions exploded in April 1775 when the Battles of Lexington and Concord broke out in Massachusetts as British forces attempted to confiscate weapons from the colonists. It was the first-time colonial militias battled British troops, and thus, the American Revolutionary War began.
Fast-forward to a June 1776 Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. Here, Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee proposed a motion for the colonies to declare independence from Britain. A committee was formed to draft an official independence document, which became known as the Declaration of Independence. On July 2, 1776, Lee’s motion for independence was approved. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted and America became a free nation. After declaring independence, America continued to fight in the Revolutionary War and officially defeated Great Britain in September 1783.
The history of the 4th of July is incredibly interesting, but there is other interesting 4th of July facts every American should know. Here are six interesting ones to take note of:
- Some colonists celebrated Independence Day during the summer of 1776 by putting on mock funerals for King George III of England symbolizing the death of the Crown’s rule on America.
- The first annual commemoration of Independence Day happened on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia.
- John Adams, a Founding Father and the second president of the United States, strongly believed Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2nd. He even refused to attend 4th of July events because he felt so strongly about July 2nd being the correct date.
- Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father, both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe, another U.S. president, also died on July 4th, but he passed in 1831.
- Thomas Jefferson was the first president to celebrate Independence Day at the White House, in 1801. The celebration featured horse races, parades, food, and drinks similar to the 4th of July celebrations we see today.
- Although the 4th of July has been celebrated each year since 1776, it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870. And it didn’t become a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941.
- Many modern Independence Day traditions stem from America’s early independence celebrations. People would attend bonfires, concerts, and parades to celebrate their new nation. It was also common for the Declaration of Independence to be read aloud, followed by muskets and cannons firing. It’s safe to say the earliest Americans celebrated the 4th of July loudly and proudly.
The 4th of July is a holiday many Americans hold near and dear to their hearts. On this day, we remember the country’s fight for freedom and celebrate the United States with friends, family, food, and fun. Happy Birthday, USA!
Happy July 4th Everyone.