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With summer coming for everyone, it’s time to get outside, get some fresh air, eat good food and celebrate the upcoming birth of the nation, July 4th. Independence Day is a widely celebrated holiday for many nations that have earned their freedom from the reigns of other countries.
America celebrated its 245th birthday this year. It was first memorialized after members of America’s 13 original colonies signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. The historical document, written by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Livingston, signifies the country’s separation from Great Britain after winning the Revolutionary War.
The Revolutionary War started when the colonists who settled in Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, became tired of the treatment they endured under Great Britain’s rule.
The declaration stated the colonies were tired of being ruled unjustly by Great Britain and wanted to be their own country. An example of this escalating includes the king taxing food and supplies which caused riots like the Boston Tea Party.
Another example is when colonists were ordered to allow British soldiers to stay in their homes. More of these unjust laws kept coming around, and the people couldn’t do a thing to change them, so they chose to rebel against Great Britain.
Under the instruction of the Virginia Convention on June 7, 1776, the state’s delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution “that these United Colonies are and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States,” asking for the Continental Congress to meet in the Pennsylvania State House.
Congress puased the vote on Lee’s resolution after a heated debate, however, it appointed a five-man committee to draft a Statement for the Declaration: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Livingston.
Even though the Declaration was written and signed by representatives of all 13 colonies on July 4, 1776, even with the support of other countries, like France, the British government didn’t accept the terms. When the option of peaceful words did not work, colonists decided to take action and fight for what they believed. The colonists defeated Great Britain in 1783.
Since that day, the United States of America has flourished into one of the biggest countries in the world. The Declaration of Independence is now displayed in the National Archives in Washington D.C.
Many counties acknowledge it as a symbol of self-governance and human rights. Some historians say a letter that was written by John Adams, the United States’ second president, said it was a great idea to persuade Congress that the Declaration of Independence needed to be signed.
His wife, Abigail Adams, predicted that the colonists would celebrate their independence for years to come. She also said the day would become an annual festival with parades and bonfires.
Citizens of Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary of the country’s independence on the 4th of July. In the city’s harbor, ships fired a 13-gun salute to honor the colonist’s victory. The Pennsylvania Evening Post called the event “A night that was a grand exhibition of fireworks on the Commons and the city was beautifully illuminated”.
Congress passed the law to make Independence Day a federal holiday on June 28, 1870.
Independence Day is a day of celebration with parties, BBQs, parades, and fireworks so got out and live by the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Let’s all move forward knowing that fellow brothers and sisters are all created equal and have rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Written by Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Sheena Robertson
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