America's Largest Veterans Service Organization

myLegion.org Icon
Social IconsSocial IconsSocial IconsSocial IconsSocial Icons

4thanim4thfireworks.gif Independence Day, the only holiday that celebrates the United States, is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays.


Speeches and editorials may invoke American Revolutionary themes such as the founding fathers (including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington), the Constitution, the Liberty Bell, and democratic principles such as liberty, freedom, equality under the law, inalienable rights, and representative government.


*  In 1777, thirteen guns were fired, once at morning and again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white and blue bunting

  *  In 1778, General George Washington marked the Fourth of July with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France

  *  In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday July 5


*  In 1781, Massachusetts was the first legislature to recognize the Fourth of July.


   *  In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina held the first celebration of the Fourth of July in the country with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled the Psalm of Joy. 

  *  In 1791, First recorded under "Independence Day" name.

  *  In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day a holiday, albeit

unpaid, for federal employees Americanism4th5pic.gif  

*  In 1941, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day a federal paid holiday. The residents of Vicksburg, Mississippi celebrate the Fourth of July for the first time in 78 years, since the Siege of Vicksburg was ended with a Union victory during the American Civil War on July 4, 1863.


Americanism4th8pic.gif United States Declaration of Independence

The United States Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

The document, formally entitled The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America and written chiefly by Thomas Jefferson, explained the justifications for secession from the British crown, and was an expansion of Richard Henry Lee's Resolution (passed by Congress on July 2), which first proclaimed independence.

An engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by most of the delegates on August 2 and is now on display in the National Archives and Records


Administration in Washington, D.C. The Declaration is considered to be a preceding founding document of the later formed United States of America, where July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day. At the time the Declaration was issued, the American colonies were "united" in declaring their independence from Great Britain, but were not yet declaring themselves to be a single nation. That union would evolve and take shape during the next few years after the Declaration was issued. 

4thanimlibertytorch.gifPresident Abraham Lincoln succinctly explained the central importance of the Declaration to American history in his Gettysburg Address of 1863:"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."





<< Previous Page     Next Page >>