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It Wasn't Free

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is an American holiday celebrated on July 4th, annually! While you're thinking of fun 4th of July ideas for this year's celebration, let's remember it's meaning to this great nation of ours, and why we celebrate it each year. As many know, this day is incredibly significant in American history, as it marks the day the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776 and thus, America was born. Many Americans celebrate with family and friends having BBQ's, go to festivals, parades, watch fireworks, have sparklers, and other festive activities. However, in order to fully understand the significance of Independence Day and what happened in 1776, let's look back at history to truly understand the importance of this day. Before America was its own country it was comprised of 13 colonies established by Great Britain. The firs colony was settled in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. European countries, especially Great Britain, continued to colonize America throughout the 17th century and a good portion of the 18th century. By 1775, an estimated 2.5 million settlers lived in the 13 colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Tensions started brewing when Great Britain began passing legislation that gave it more control within the colonies, especially when it came to taxing the colonists. The Crown was in debt after the French and Indian War, so it started taxing the American colonies to increase revenues. The passage of legislation including the Stamp Act in March 1765, The Townshend Acts in June and July of 17 67, and the Tea Act of 1773 forced colonists to pay more money to Great Britain, even though the colonies didn't have a say in the Crown's policies. This became known as taxation without representation, and quickly became a heated pillar in the foundation of the American Revolution. Events such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party further escalated tensions between British occupiers and American colonists. Those tensions exploded in April 1775 when the Battles of Lexington and Concord broke out in Massachusetts as British forces attempted to confiscate weapons from the colonists. It was the first time colonial militias battled British troops, and thus, the American Revolutionary War began. Fast-forward to a June 1776 Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. Here, Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee proposes a motion for the colonies to declare independence from Britain. A committee was formed to draft an official independence document, which became known as the Declaration of lndependence. On July 2nd, 1776, Lee's motion for independence was approved. Two days later, on July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted and America became a free nation, After declaring independence, America continued to fight in the Revolutionary War and officially defeated Great Britain in September 1783. The history of the 4th of July is incredibly interesting, but there are other interesting 4th of July fact every American should know. 1 - Some colonist celebrated Independence Day during the summer of 1776 by putting on mock funerals for King George III of England, symbolizing the death of the Crown's rule on America. 2 - The first annual commemoration of Independence Day happened on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia. 3 - John Adams, a Founding Father and the second president of the United States, strongly believed Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2nd. He even refused to attend 4th of July events because he felt so strongly about July 2nd being the correct date. 4 - Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father, both died on July 4, 1826. 5 - Thomas Jefferson was the first president to celebrate Independence Day at the White House in 1801. Then, the celebration featured horse races, parades, food, and drinks. Similar to the 4th of July celebrations we see today.

6 - Although, the 4th of July was celebrated each year since 1886, it didn't become a federal holiday until 1870. And, it didn't become a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941. Still today, many of our Independence Day traditions stern from America's early independence celebrations such as fireworks, sparklers, BBQ's, parades, wearing red, white and blue patriotic colors, waving mini American flags or placing them in your yard, and most importantly spending time with family and friends. Indeed, to many Americans this holiday is held near and dear to their hearts. It marks the day America became the country it is today, a country where people have a right to life. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without fear of persecution. On this day, confirm with your children we are ALL Americans and why we celebrate! Share the story of the United States' fight for freedom and proudly come together to celebrate America's birthday. Happy Birthday USA! And May God Bless America!! Resources for this article: History. com, contributor Kelly Kuehn - Dr Irma Palmer

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