Why Do Americans Celebrate The 4th of July?
The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, which formally declared the 13 American colonies as a new nation, the United States of America.
The document was primarily drafted by Thomas Jefferson and was signed by 56 delegates from the colonies, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington. The adoption of the Declaration of Independence marked the beginning of the American Revolution and the eventual separation of the colonies from Great Britain.
To understand the significance of the 4th of July, it is important to look at the history of the American colonies and their relationship with Great Britain leading up to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The British Empire established a number of colonies in North America in the 17th and 18th centuries, including Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, among others. These colonies were governed by British officials and subject to British laws and policies, even though many colonists had been born in America and had established their own distinct culture and way of life.
Tensions between the American colonists and the British government began to escalate in the mid-1700s, as the colonists grew increasingly dissatisfied with their lack of representation in the British Parliament and the imposition of taxes and trade regulations without their consent. In 1774, the British government passed a series of laws known as the Coercive Acts, which were intended to punish the colonists for their rebellion and restore British authority in America.
These acts only further inflamed tensions and led to the convening of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in September 1774, where representatives from the colonies met to discuss their grievances and consider a unified response.
The Second Continental Congress met in May 1775, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities between British troops and colonial militiamen at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
This congress assumed the powers of a national government and began organizing the defense of the colonies against British forces. George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and a series of battles were fought throughout the colonies over the next several years.
Despite the outbreak of hostilities, many colonists were still hesitant to declare full independence from Great Britain, believing that a peaceful reconciliation could still be achieved.
However, as the conflict dragged on and the British government continued to refuse to address the colonists’ grievances, calls for independence grew louder. In June 1776, a committee of five delegates, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, was appointed to draft a formal Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, who drew heavily on Enlightenment philosophy and the writings of political theorists such as John Locke. The document asserted that all people are created equal and have certain inherent rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It also listed a series of grievances against the British government and King George III, including taxation without representation, the quartering of British troops in American homes, and the suppression of colonial trade.
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, with only New York abstaining. Two days later, on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by Congress. The document was signed by 56 delegates, representing all 13 colonies.
The adoption of the Declaration of Independence marked a turning point in the history of the American colonies, as it formally declared their independence from Great Britain and established the United States of America as a new nation.
The American Revolution continued for several more years, with a number of key battles and events, including the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, the alliance with France in 1778