The Significance Of July Fourth For American Independence

The Significance Of July Fourth For American Independence

July fourth or Independence Day is a proud day for every American. 

It is a colorful festivity where you see lots of flags, parades, and fireworks!

Let’s get a deeper understanding of this historic day!

On July fourth, 1776, “The Declaration Of Independence” was adopted. It was drafted by the founding fathers – John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. They envisioned a free country with the freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For over two centuries, the gallantry and sacrifices of our veterans made it possible for us to retain this freedom. It is important for us to value and celebrate the sacrifices of our heroes.   

But July 4, 1776, wasn’t really the day that the Continental Congress voted to declare independence (that occurred July 2).

It wasn’t when we started the American Revolution (that happened in April 1775).

And it wasn’t when Thomas Jefferson submitted his draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress (late June 1776). Nor was it when the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (November 1776). Nor when the document was signed (Aug. 2, 1776).

So what happened on July 4, 1776?

July 4, 1776, was when the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. Its members had been working on edits since Jefferson submitted his draft about a week earlier.

The date of July 4, 1776, is printed atop the handwritten Declaration of Independence. (That document on parchment, the one signed by the Continental Congress delegates Aug. 2, is now on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.).

July 4 was also the date on the Dunlap Broadsides – copies of the Declaration that Philadelphia printer John Dunlap produced that night by order of the Congress and which were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people remembered the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, was the date they thought of.

How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?

In the first 15 or 20 years after the drafting of the Declaration, people didn’t celebrate it at all. It was probably too new, and too much else was happening in the young nation.

In 1817, John Adams had complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would change. The Federalist Party had been coming apart since the War of 1812, and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves successors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration started to be circulated again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top.

The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – both coincidentally on July 4, 1826 – may even have helped promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.  

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more widespread as the years went on, and in 1870, almost 100 years after the Declaration was drafted, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday. It was part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation regarding national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

Conclusion

The United States of America prides itself on different expressions of freedoms and liberties, and these were only realized after the country got its independence to carve its own path. The Fourth of July marks the start of this journey of self-determination, so it should continue to be commemorated and preserved. In remembrance of our struggle for independence, we would like to salute and thank our veterans for their invaluable service to our nation. Happy Independence Day!

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