Happy 4th of July! Why does America celebrate Independence Day? We’ve got the history and facts for you.
The 4th of July is a time to celebrate America, which marks the day in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, signaling their separation from Great Britain amid The Revolutionary War. Since that day, July 4th has been considered America’s “birthday,” making her 245 years old today.
Philadelphians marked the first anniversary of America’s independence, and the 4th of July celebrations continued to be held annually. The 4th of July became an official federal holiday in 1941 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of a proclamation for 4 July 1940; however, it was not observed on that day because he died three days prior to its observance. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 that the 4th of July officially became associated with Independence Day as we now know it.
Facts about 4th of July Independence Day in America
- 4th of July is a federal holiday in America, and Independence Day (July 4) has been celebrated on that day since 1940.
- The 4th of July became an official federal holiday in 1941 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of a proclamation for 4 July 1940; however, it was not observed on that day because he died three days prior to its observance. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 that the 4th of July officially became associated with Independence Day as we now know it.
- The 4th of July celebrations continued annually after 1776, but they weren’t called “Independence Day” until much later—the first one happened in Philadelphia.
- 4th of July has been America’s “birthday” since it marks Independence Day and is now 245 years old!
- The first 4th of July celebration took place in Philadelphia and included a reading from Thomas Jefferson’s drafted Declaration of Independence followed by cannon fire and church bells ringing for a joyous occasion.
- On this same date in 1814, during the War Of 1812 with Britain, General Andrew Jackson led his troops into battle against British invaders who had come up along New Orleans Lake Pontchartrain intending to capture that city too (that 4th of July was the same date as Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo on 1814).
- 4th of July is not a holiday in Britain, but an act of Union passed by British Parliament in 1707 to strengthen their sovereignty over Scotland.
4th July fireworks
Americans across the country take part in Independence Day celebrations. These festivities include fireworks that sparkle and sizzle as they illuminate the sky. The origins of these elaborate displays vary from region to region, but most can be traced back to 1777 when John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail on this auspicious day:
“The British will probably have left Boston by the 4th of July.”
“And thus our 4th of July…will make us happy one year sooner than it otherwise could.”
In smaller towns like New York City’s Rockland County, residents mark their independence with an annual parade, while others enjoy watching 4th of July parades in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and in many more places of the country.
This year, be sure to spend some time this 4th with friends and family celebrating American history while eating hot dogs (or hamburgers) or watching fireworks displays – anything you can think that embodies Independence Day celebrations! Happy Fourth everyone!
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