July Fourth is a day of celebration for the United States of America. It’s a day filled with red, white, and blue. It’s a night filled with lots of food and fireworks. And as much fun as these celebrations are, it’s important that we, as Americans, never forget why it is we get to celebrate this day in American history. Let’s take a look back at the history of Independence Day.
The Fourth of July, 1776, is the momentous day that the thirteen American colonies declared themselves as a new nation, separate from the British Empire.
Throughout the year leading up to this day, tensions were rising between Great Britain and the thirteen colonies. Then, on June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee said, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” This statement was incredibly influential in drafting the Declaration of Independence. However, it took weeks before anything was set in stone.
On June 11, 1776, consideration of the resolution was postponed by a vote of seven colonies to five. And then on July 1st, the Continental Congress reconvened. On July 2nd, independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies. Revisions of the document for independence continued throughout the next day, and it wasn’t until July 4th that the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted. Out of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two voted in opposition, one was undecided, and the final colony abstained.
With nine colonies in favor, John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence with a large signature so that England’s King George could read it without question.
Now, we celebrate the Fourth of July as our Independence Day, a national holiday to commemorate the day the colonies the United States claimed to be a free and independent nation.