…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Independence Day, celebrated annually on July 4th, is a cherished American holiday.
This year, falling on a Tuesday, it extends the weekend for many Americans, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.
But why is July 4th celebrated? From which country did the United States declare independence? And what truly transpired on that momentous day in 1776? Here’s a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about Independence Day.
The Declaration of Independence and its Connection to July 4
Independence Day, also known as July 4th, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which symbolized freedom from British rule.
The historic document was signed on July 4, 1776, and holds great significance as a defining moment in American history.
On this day, patriotic Americans come together to honor the birth of their nation, along with its rich history and values.
Festivals, parades, fireworks, barbecues, and various festivities mark the celebration of America’s birthday.
Independence Declared from the United Kingdom
The United States of America declared independence from the United Kingdom, then known as Great Britain.
Prior to becoming an independent nation, America was comprised of 13 separate colonies established by the British, starting with Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.
Over time, European countries, especially Great Britain, continued to colonize America, with the population growing to an estimated 2.5 million settlers residing in the 13 colonies by 1775.
Factors Leading to the Colonists’ Pursuit of Independence
Tensions between the American colonists and Great Britain began to escalate due to increased control exerted by the home country, particularly regarding taxation.
To alleviate its debt following the French and Indian War, Britain imposed taxes on the American colonies, which sparked outrage among the colonists.
Acts such as the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, and Tea Act imposed financial burdens on the colonists without their representation, fueling the sentiment of taxation without representation and laying the groundwork for the American Revolution.
Key events like the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party further intensified the conflict between British occupiers and American colonists.
July 4, 1776: Insights and Interesting Facts
July 4th, 1776, holds several intriguing facts worth noting.
It marked the first annual commemoration of Independence Day in Philadelphia the following year.
Some colonists even held mock funerals for King George III of England during the summer of 1776 to celebrate their newfound independence.
Interestingly, John Adams, one of the founding fathers and the second U.S. president, believed that July 2nd should be celebrated as Independence Day.
Thomas Jefferson became the first president to celebrate the occasion at the White House in 1801, featuring various festivities such as horse races, parades, and delicious food and drinks.
Notably, Independence Day only became a federal holiday in 1870 and wasn’t recognized as a paid holiday for employees until 1941.
Celebrating Independence Day in London and Exploring Historical Connections
Independence Day is not limited to the United States; celebrations also take place in various parts of the world.
In London, for example, there are local July 4 events to enjoy, including Independence Day celebrations at the Benjamin Franklin House, the former London home of the American founding father.
Visitors can experience the house decorated for the occasion while savoring American drinks and snacks.
Alternatively, the North London Whisky Club offers a unique whiskey tasting experience, featuring diverse American whiskey varieties and exploring their histories.
Additionally, Love London Tour guides offer a special pre-Independence Day walk on July 2, focusing on the historical links between London and the USA.