The Fourth of July, often known as Independence Day, is a federal holiday in the United States that honors the Second Continental Congress’s ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Thirteen Colonies were declared to be one, free, and independent states by the Founding Fathers present at the Second Continental Congress, who also declared that they were no longer subject (and submissive) to King George III of Great Britain. Bypassing the Lee Resolution on July 2 and the Declaration of Independence on July 4, Congress expressed its support for independence.
Independence Day is frequently connected with political speeches, ceremonies, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and other public and private festivities honoring American history, culture, and customs. The United States celebrates US Independence Day as its national holiday.
Happy American Independence Day Background
Although Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin later claimed to have signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, historians have long contested whether members of Congress actually did so on that day. The Declaration was not signed on July 4 as is popularly believed, but rather on August 2, 1776, over a month after it was adopted, according to the majority of historians.
The only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence who went on to become president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, both passed away on the same day, July 4, 1826, marking the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Jefferson even made reference to this event.
James Monroe, another elected Founding Father who was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, passed away on July 4, 1831, making him the third President to pass away on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge was the only president of the United States to have been born on July 4th.
Happy American Independence Day Observance
- On July 4th, 1777, in Bristol, Rhode Island, thirteen salute shots were fired—once in the morning and once more when night fell. A celebration in Philadelphia was described in an item in The Virginia Gazette from July 18, 1777, in a way that a contemporary American would recognize: a formal meal for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, military reviews, and fireworks. Bunting in the colors of red, white, and blue was hung from ships in port.
- General George Washington celebrated July 4 in 1778 from his headquarters at Ross Hall, close to New Brunswick, New Jersey, with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute (feu de joie).
- The American ambassador’s John Adams and Benjamin Franklin hosted a meal for their countrymen in Paris, France, across the Atlantic Ocean.
- In a fantastical 1902 Puck cartoon, American kids of many ethnic backgrounds sing and dance.
- July 4 fell on a Sunday in 1779. Monday, July 5, was the day to observe the holiday.
- The Massachusetts General Court was the first state legislature to declare July 4 to be a national holiday in 1781.
- The Psalm of Joy, a hard musical program put together by Johann Friedrich Peter, was performed at a festival in Salem, North Carolina, in 1783. The town asserts that it was the first official July 4 celebration since the Moravian Church meticulously recorded it and there are no official records of any prior celebrations.
- The United States Congress established Independence Day as an unpaid vacation for federal workers in 1870.
- Congress made Independence Day a paid federal holiday in 1938.
Happy American Independence Day Customs
- A national holiday, Independence Day is celebrated with patriotic displays. The Fourth of July celebrations frequently take place outside, just like other summer-themed occasions. On this day, many politicians make a point of attending a public event to honor the nation’s history, laws, society, and people.
- Independence Day is a federal holiday as defined by 5 U.S.C. 6103, hence all non-essential government agencies (such as the post office and federal courts) are closed on that day. While July 4th is still a legal holiday, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, federal employees will observe the holiday on the following Friday or Monday, respectively.
- The night before the Fourth of July used to be the focal point of celebrations, with rowdy gatherings often featuring bonfires as their centerpiece. In New England, towns competed to construct high pyramids made of barrels and casks. They were lit in the dark to signal the start of the festivities. The tallest was at Salem, Massachusetts, where pyramids were made up of up to forty levels of barrels. These created the tallest bonfires ever documented. The tradition flourished in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is still done in several New England towns today.
- Patriotic songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner” (the American national anthem); “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean”; “God Bless America”; “America the Beautiful”; and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” are frequently played during Independence Day fireworks displays.
- A “salute to the union,” consisting of one gun for each state in the United States, is shot on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.
- Macy’s sponsors the greatest fireworks display in the country, with more than 22 tons of explosives exploding in 2009.
- It usually has exhibited in the East River. Other notable displays can be found in Seattle on Lake Union, San Diego over Mission Bay, Boston on the Charles River, Philadelphia over the Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay, and Washington, D.C. on the National Mall.
Happy American Independence Day Notable Celebration
- The Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island, has been held since 1785 and is the country’s oldest continuous Independence Day celebration.
- Seward, Nebraska, has celebrated a festival in the same town square since 1868. By congressional legislation in 1979, Seward was designated “America’s Official Fourth of July City-Small Town USA.” Governor J. James Exon has also designated Seward as “Nebraska’s Official Fourth of July City” in a proclamation. Seward is a 6,000-person hamlet that swells to 40,000 or more during the July 4th celebrations.
- Since 1912, the Rebild Society, a Danish-American friendship club, has sponsored a July 4 weekend festival in Denmark’s Rebild Hills that acts as a homecoming for Danish-Americans.
- Since 1976, the famed Macy’s fireworks display over the East River in New York City has been televised nationally on NBC and locally on WNBC-TV. To honor the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s exploration of the Hudson River, the fireworks display was reintroduced to the river for the first time since 2000 in 2009.
- A Capitol Fourth, a free concert broadcast live by PBS, NPR, and the American Forces Network on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C., precedes the fireworks and attracts over 500,000 people each year.
Motivational Happy 4th of July Quotes 2022
- “Laughter is America’s most important export…” >Walt Disney
- “America is another name for the opportunity…” > Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “It will be celebrated with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…” >John Adams
- “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall…” >John Dickinson
- “I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true…” >Wendell L. Wilkie
- “Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country…” > Sinclair Lewis
- “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope…” >Barack Obama