Happy 4th of July! History of Independence Day

2 minutes

Americans celebrate our nation's independence day on July 4th. That date coincides with the signing of a document called the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is a written statement addressed to the King of England at the time, King George III, which announced the American colonies' desire to separate from his rule and become its own nation. Representatives from all of the colonies came together during a convention in 1775 called the Second Continental Congress to decide how best to move the colonies toward becoming their own nation. Thomas Jefferson, a member of the Continental Congress and a man who would eventually become the 3rd president of the United States, was chosen to draft the declaration. The document was finished by the summer of 1776 and dated July 4th of that year.

Some of the delegates of the continental congress did reportedly sign on July 4th. John Hancock, a man who served as president of the Continental Congress and later the first Governor of the state of Massachusetts, is famous for having his signature be the largest and most prominent one on the document (To this day, a nickname for someone's signature is a "John Hancock".) Other members may have signed later that summer but the date for the declaration's adoption remains the 4th.

The British Empire obviously retaliated and fought a war with the American colonies for the next 8 years but for all intents and purposes, July 4th is considered the birth date of the United States. Fortunately, Independence Day occurs during the warmest month in our summer. Many people will organize outdoor events like picnics, and most towns prepare a fireworks display. The fireworks in the New York City harbor are even televised and broadcast throughout the country. Participating in a 4th of July celebration in your U.S. host community is an excellent way to experience U.S. culture—we hope you will find something fun to do on July 4th to celebrate the birthday of the United States!

Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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