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Why do we celebrate July 4th? Origin and meaning and what happened in 1776

July 4th is one of the biggest holidays in the United States. But behind the red, white, and blue fireworks and parades is a deep historical significance.

FILE - In this July 4, 1966 file photo, the moon shines above the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, which depicts a scene from Iwo Jima, as fireworks burst over Washington, seen from the Virginia side of the Potomac River. The Washington Monument a
Charles TasnadiAP

The 4th of July is Independence Day in the United States. On the 4th of July in 1776, the United States gained independence from Great Britain by the Continental Congress.

12 of the 13 North American colonies voted for the separation from Great Britain.

July 4th: why did the colonies want independence from Great Britain?

While some people remained loyal to the British crown, many wanted independence declared due to a wide range of reasons.

- High British taxes were imposed on the colonies, yet the colonies weren't benefiting from the taxes they were paying and the colonists had no say in these taxes that were being voted into law. One example is the Stamp Act of 1765, which taxed colonists for the paper that they used.
- The colonies were unable to send representatives to Parliament to request more freedom to govern themselves.
- The North American colonists had a series of laws imposed on them that would control them.

Tensions were extremely high between the colonists and the British, and eventually a war broke out. This war is known today as the American War of Independence or the American Revolution.

When was the Declaration of Independence drafted?

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert. R. Livingston drafted the Declaration of Independence, though Thomas Jefferson was the primary author. The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted on July 4th, 1776.

Why is the Fourth of July celebrated with fireworks?

The historical day has become one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. The use of fireworks has become an American tradition, though it's said to have been invented by the Chinese thousands of years ago.


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