It’s that special day of fireworks, pool parties, picnics, fun, movies, events, relaxation, and family – Independence Day – July 4th. We hope you’re having a wonderful time.
What exactly are we celebrating besides having a day off and the fact that it’s Summer? We all know that this celebration is about the independence of the Colonies from Great Britain. But how many of us have actually read the Declaration of Independence? There’s a lot more in there beside the wonderful statement:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Declaration goes through the injuries and usurpations committed by the King of Great Britain. It covers 27 items and goes on to declare, “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
It’s a very interesting and even exciting document when thinking back to the time and the writing of it. History.com tells it like this:
“When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical. By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.”
It was July 2nd, 1776 when the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later, delegates from the 13 Colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. There we have it – the reason July 4th is Independence Day. An interesting tidbit is included in the history of that Congress:
“On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 ‘will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival’ and that the celebration should include ‘Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.’”
John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date and according to the story, he turned down invitations to July 4th events in protest. One more interesting fact is that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The 4th of July became a federal holiday in 1941, but the history of celebrations goes way back. One story is that some of the early celebrations included mock funerals for King George III. Other celebrations included concerts, bonfires, parades, firing cannons and muskets and public readings of the Declaration of Independence.
When did fireworks come into the picture? The answer is a bit surprising. Fireworks on the 4th is apparently not a new thing! The history points to July 4th, 1777 during a celebration in Philadelphia:
“The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: ‘At night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.’ That same night, the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common.”
We stated that July 4th became a federal holiday in 1941, but that date points toward the year when the day became a paid holiday for all federal employees. Congress actually made July 4th a holiday in 1870, so the 1941 date is when it expanded to include a paid day off work.
Over the years the holiday has become less political and more celebratory as a special summer event for families and friends. As you celebrate, one thing we would encourage is to consider your pets and watch over them due to the startling effect of firework noise. Keep them in a safe space during the hours of fireworks.
We hope you have a great time!! Happy July 4th to all AMS employees, clients, and friends.
You can read the Declaration of Independence HERE.