Let’s Celebrate America’s Birthday: A Brief History of the 4th of July!
The 4th of July is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States and for a good reason.
July 4th, 1776, marks the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This document declared the United States a new nation free from British rule. This holiday is full of patriotic displays, family gatherings, and fireworks to commemorate the country’s independence. In this blog, we will dive into the history of the 4th of July, interesting historical facts, women’s roles in its history, traditional celebrations in today’s world, and ideas on celebrating with friends and family.
The 4th of July celebrates this day in 1776 when the Continental Congress, a group of representatives from 13 American colonies, officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The document declared the United States a new nation free from British rule. This momentous occasion marked the beginning of a revolution and a new era of independence for the American people. The 4th of July wasn’t widely celebrated until after the War of 1812 and did not become a federal holiday until 1870. Since then, July 4th has been a national holiday, symbolizing American pride and patriotism.
Did you know that the 4th of July was not always a federal holiday?
It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress passed an act making the day of America’s independence a legal holiday for federal employees. Before that, no one celebrated, and businesses were open as usual. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Livingston, and Roger Sherman drafted the document in June 1776. Officially the Continental Congress declared its independence on July 2nd, 1776. However, it took Congress two more days to edit the record before its final approval on July 4th, 1776. John Adams, a Founding Father, felt Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2nd, not July 4th, so he refused to attend the events held on the 4th of July. The first president to host the 4th of July festivities at the White House was Thomas Jefferson in 1801.
Three Founding Fathers’ presidents died on the 4th of July, Adams and Jefferson in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and James Monroe in 1831. These little tidbits of history add to the rich and colorful story of America’s birth.
While many of us may know the names of the famous founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, we often overlook women’s critical roles in the fight for independence.
Women like Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren were outspoken advocates of freedom and worked tirelessly to support the cause. They wrote letters, poems, and plays that helped spread awareness and encourage resistance against British rule. Women also contributed to the war effort by sewing clothing and supplies for soldiers and nursing the wounded. Without their efforts, we may not be celebrating America’s independence today.
Today, the 4th of July is celebrated nationwide with parades, barbecues, picnics, and fireworks displays.
Many cities and towns hold public celebrations with local bands, food vendors, and carnival rides. And what hometown parade would be complete without the fire engines blaring their horns? After the parades, it’s common for families and friends to gather for backyard barbecues and picnics, where they often cook traditional American foods like hot dogs and hamburgers while completing the meal with traditional apple pie and frozen treats. Decorations for the 4th include the distinctive colors of red, white, and blue, with flags, streamers, and balloons adorning homes, streets, and buildings.
Many fun and festive options exist if you’re looking for ideas to celebrate America’s birthday.
One popular idea is to decorate your table with patriotic items like American flags, flag-themed tablecloths, and centerpieces featuring red, white, and blue flowers. Decorated bicycles and wagons are a fun way for the kids to show their American pride during the local parade. If there isn’t a town parade, rally the neighborhood children to dress up, decorate their bikes, and have a procession. After the parade, the children can participate in organized events such as a three-legged race and a hoola hoop or dance contest. And, of course, no 4th of July celebration is complete without some delicious, traditional dishes like potato salad, coleslaw, and watermelon. Lastly, be sure to attend a local fireworks display to see spectacular explosions of red, white, and blue light up the sky.
The 4th of July is a time to unite as Americans to celebrate our country’s rich history and independence. In the United States, the 4th of July is not a day to flaunt military power. It’s a day to celebrate our nation’s independence. It’s a chance to reflect on the hard work and sacrifices of our founding fathers and the contributions of women throughout history who helped shape the country we know and love today. We hope this blog has given you some insight into the history of the 4th of July and provided you with inspiration for celebrating this memorable holiday. So let’s wave those flags, don our best red, white, and blue, and honor America’s birthday with pride and enthusiasm. Happy 4th of July, everyone!
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Written by the GNL Editorial Staff