“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
– Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
Known as Independence Day and the birth of the United States of America, it began on July 4, 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. Now let’s look at a few lesser known facts:
- The Continental Congress decided to declare independence on July 2, 1776.
- The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson in June of 1776.
- The American Revolution, the fight for independence, took place in April of 1775.
- Although dated July 4, 1776, the Declaration was actually signed in August of 1776 and it began to be circulated.
So What Did Happen on July 4, 1776?
The Continental Congress agreed on and approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence and it was edited.
July 4, 1776 was the date permanently printed on the Declaration. However, it didn’t receive all of its fancy handwritten signatures until August 1776. (This copy is on display today at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.)
When Did the 4th of July Begin to be Celebrated?
After the War of 1812, printed copies of the Declaration were circulated once again – all with the original July 4, 1776 date. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had passed away by July 4, 1826, and people were viewing our government in a different light. They became more interested in our nations history.
In 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress declared July 4th to be a national holiday.
How do You Observe the 4th?
Being summer, it’s a convenient time for people to incorporate the 4th into their vacation plans. But wherever you are across the U.S.A. that evening, you’ll no doubt see fireworks in the sky, or set your own off with your family.
If by the TV, watch the televised performance of the Boston Pops Orchestra in concert at the Shell on the Charles River in Boston. This culminates in one of the best televised fireworks displays in the U.S. Or watch the telecast of the fireworks show in New York City.
However you choose to celebrate the 4th of July, have fun, stay safe, and remember those who serve to keep our country free!