Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to secede two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.
In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. An article in July 18, 1777 issue of The Virginia Gazette noted a celebration in Philadelphia in a manner a modern American would find familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships in port were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.
In 1778, from his headquarters at Ross Hall, near New Brunswick, New Jersey, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute (feu de joie). Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
American children of many ethnic backgrounds celebrate noisily in 1902 Puck cartoon
In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.
In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1783, Salem, North Carolina held a celebration with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter entitled The Psalm of Joy. The town claims to be the first public July 4 event, as it was carefully documented by the Moravian Church, and there are no government records of any earlier celebrations.
In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
Enjoy your FREEDOM!