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Brief History of the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is a federal holiday in the United States that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This document declared the thirteen American colonies as independent states, free from British rule.

Here’s a brief history of the events leading up to and surrounding the Fourth of July:

  1. Colonial Grievances: Tensions between the American colonies and Britain had been escalating due to issues such as taxation without representation, British military presence in the colonies, and various restrictive laws imposed by the British Parliament.

  2. Continental Congress: In response to these tensions, representatives from the colonies convened the First Continental Congress in 1774 to address their grievances. The Second Continental Congress met in 1775, by which time the American Revolutionary War had already begun.

  3. Declaration of Independence: The Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.

  4. Adoption of the Declaration: After some revisions and debates, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The declaration articulated the colonies’ reasons for seeking independence and outlined their right to self-governance.

  5. First Celebrations: The first celebrations of Independence Day took place in the years following 1776. In 1777, Philadelphia marked the anniversary with an official dinner, parades, and fireworks. Over time, celebrations spread throughout the new nation.

  6. Federal Holiday: Independence Day was declared a federal holiday in 1870, and it became one of the most significant patriotic holidays in the United States, celebrated with fireworks, parades, concerts, and various public and private events.

The Fourth of July symbolizes American ideals of freedom, democracy, and the pursuit of happiness, and it remains a day for Americans to celebrate their national heritage and express their patriotism.

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