Independence Day is also known as July 4th or Fourth of July, is a holiday we celebrate with food, family, and fireworks, and since it falls in summer, there’s also some kind of body of water associated with it.
But here’s a little American history about the origins of the holiday.
Amid the Revolutionary War, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed to a 5-man committee to draft a formal statement justifying the break from Great Britain.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. Two days later, delegates from 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence.
On July 2nd, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2nd “will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival” and the celebration should include “pomp and parade…games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” He also believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of America’s independence and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.
Early celebrations included:
- In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, including ringing of bells, bonfires, processions, and speech making.
- In the summer of 1776, so e colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and triumph of liberty.
- Immediately after its adoption, public readings of the Declaration of Independence were accompanied by cannons and musket firings.
- George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778.
In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday, and in 1870, Congress made it a federal holiday. A provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to federal employees in 1941.