We celebrate American Independence Day on the fourth day of July every year. On 4 July the United States was celebrated as an independent nation.On the fourth day of July, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event. Today, we celebrate July 4 with fireworks, parades, banquets and barbecues. This is a holiday, a day to take leave from school or work.
Declaration of Independence
We celebrate American Independence Day on the fourth day of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776 as a day, which represents the declaration of independence and the birth of the United States as an independent nation.
But on July 4, 1776, it was not the day when the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did so on July 2, 1776).
This was not the day when we started the American Revolution (back in April 1775).
And this was not the day when Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (which was in June 1776). Or the announcement that was given to Great Britain on that date (it was not until November 1776). Or the date on which it was signed (it was 2 August 1776).
So what happened on July 4, 1776?
On 4 July 1776 the Continental Congress approved the final word on the declaration of independence. They were working on it for a few days after the draft was submitted on July 2 and finally agreed on all edits and changes.
On July 4, 1776, it became the date which was included in the declaration of independence, and the fancy handwritten copy which was signed in August (now displayed in the national archives in Washington, DC) is also the date, which is 21 Dunlop Broadsides was printed, the original printed copies of the announcement that were broadcast in the whole new nation. So when people thought of declaration of independence, then on July 4, 1776 it was the date which they remembered.
On the contrary, we celebrate the Constitution Day on 17 September each year, the Constitution was signed on the anniversary of that date, and not on the anniversary of that date. If we have followed this approach for the declaration of independence, then we are celebrating Independence Day on August 2 of every year, on which day the declaration of independence was signed.
How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?
For the first 15 or 20 years after the announcement was made, people did not celebrate it on any date. It was very new and the youth was getting very much in the country. By the 1790s, the timing of bitter partisan struggle, the announcement became controversial. A party, Democrat-Republican, Jefferson and praised the announcement. But the second party, the Federalists thought that the announcement was very French and very anti-British, which was against their current policies.
By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that the United States seemed uninterrupted in its past. But that will soon change.
After the war of 1812, the Federalist Party began to separate, and new parties from 1820 and 1830 considered themselves the successors of Jefferson and Democrat-Republican. The printed copies of the announcement started again, which was listed on the top with the date of 4 July 1776. The death of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826 also helped to convince the idea of July 4 as a significant date.