Today, July 4, 2021, marks the 245thanniversary of the birth of the Independent United States. On this day, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776, marking this day as an important federal holiday in the US since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations dates back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
From 1776 to the present day, July 4 has been celebrated as the birth of American Independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to more casual gatherings and barbecues.
The Declaration states, “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”.
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.
On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies independence.
Amid heated debates, Congress postponed the vote on Lee's resolution but appointed a five-man committee- including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, James Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Robert R. Livingston of New York- to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.
Finally, on July 4, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson.
Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of the independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the US Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.