4th of July history can sometimes be forgotten amid the fireworks, parades, and other celebrations that occur on this holiday. While festive traditions are an important part of the celebrations, it is also important to remember what we are celebrating. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the colonies marked their break from Great Britain with the establishment of the United States. The history of the Fourth of July is rooted in freedom, and each summer, from coast to coast, Americans celebrate this symbolic moment in the country’s history. While facts about July 4 aren’t as well known as some school teachers might like, there is still a real sense of patriotism and pride on the holiday.
4th of July history and the American Revolution are very closely linked. The American colonies were dissatisfied with being under control of Great Britain, especially when it came to things such as taxes. The culmination of the dramatic American Revolution was the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain. Of all the facts about July 4, one that isn’t well known is that this significant moment in history occurred on July 2, 1776. It took the Continental Congress two days to revise and debate the document, and it was finally approved on July 4.
One of the most important figures of the history of the Fourth of July is Thomas Jefferson. As the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson sealed his reputation in American history. Jefferson of course went on to be President of the United States, along with another man who signed the Declaration, John Adams. A strange element of 4th of July history is that both of these historical figures also died on the 4th of July, on the nation’s 50th birthday in 1826. Known as two of the founding fathers of the US, it is only fitting that they passed away on such a significant day.
Many cities across the country have their own history of the Fourth of July over the years. Rhode Island, who began a celebratory parade in Bristol in 1785, has the oldest continuous celebration in the country. Some traditions are less historically significant, such as the annual hot-dog eating contest that has taken place in Coney Island, New York City, since 1916. A favorite event for the people of Boston is the Boston Pops Orchestra, which has been holding a concert at the Charles River since 1973. Perhaps one of the favorite traditions takes place in Washington DC where a free concert and fireworks show brings over half a million people to the Capitol lawn.
There are many more interesting facts about July 4 such as that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on this date. This is a common thought, but in fact, the Declaration was approved on the 4th of July, and wasn’t signed until August. Today, the holiday is symbolic for many reasons. Beyond the fascinating history, the 4th of July is also a day where American patriotism is celebrated and contemporary political parties are put aside. On the 4th of July, people celebrate the history that brings them together and ultimately defines much of the country.