The 4th of July is celebrated with much pomp and joy in the United States as their Independence Day. It has been a designated federal holiday in the States since 1941. However, the tradition of celebrating Independence Day dates back to the American Revolution and 18th century.
The Continental Congress voted in favour of independence on July 2, 1776. Two days later, officials from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document that was drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
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From 1776 to date, July 4 is known as the birth of American independence. This year, since the 4th of July falls on a Sunday, the federal holidays will be observed on Monday, July 5.
When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, some colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain; they were considered radical.
The Continental Congress, on June 7, 1775, convened at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. During this meet, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.
With a debate raging on, Congress postponed the vote but appointed a five-man committee to draft a formal statement, justifying the break with Great Britain. The committee had Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Roger Sherman (Connecticut), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania) and Robert R Livingston (New York).
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The Continental Congress voted in favour of Lee’s resolution on July 2. The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4. The declaration was largely written by Jefferson.
Philadelphia was the first to hold an annual celebration of independence on July 4, 1777. After this, several months before the American victory at the Battle of Yorktown, Massachusetts declared July 4 as an official state holiday. It became the first state to do so.
Fourth of July fireworks
The tradition of celebrating independence with fireworks started in 1777, Philadelphia was the torch-bearer but was used as early as 200 BC
In 1870, the US Congress made the fourth of July a federal holiday and a provision was made in 1941 to grant a paid leave to all federal employees.