The History of the Fourth of July

With summer in full swing, there’s hardly any better time to smile your brightest than during the July 4th holiday. While today we often celebrate Independence Day with festivities, friends, family and fireworks, that hasn’t always been the case. During this Fourth of July holiday, let’s take a reflective look back and honor the legacy and true meaning behind Independence Day.

The Original Independence Day

The year was 1776 and the original 13 colonies were fighting to gain freedom from Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. The reason we do not celebrate Independence Day on July 2nd today is because although the colonists voted for freedom on that day, they did not formally declare independence until July 4th. This is when Thomas Jefferson finished drafting the official Declaration of Independence. To some colonists like John Adams, however, July 2, 1776 was the true birth of American independence.

Early July 4th Festivities

July 4th hasn’t always been marked with fireworks. Following their declaration of independence, early Americans used to celebrate the holiday by holding mock funerals for King George III. This symbolized the end of the monarch’s reign over the colonists. In addition to having fun at the former King’s expense, early Americans also celebrated the first readings of the Declaration of Independence with:

• Bonfires
• Firing of cannons and muskets
• Parades
• Music

By the 1790s two major political parties had emerged and each had their own Independence Day celebrations in several main cities.

Becoming a National Holiday

Massachusetts was the first state to make the Fourth of July an official state holiday in 1781, but it took nearly 100 years for the rest of the country to catch up. Finally, in 1870, the U.S. Congress voted to make July 4th a federal and national holiday. Although the political importance of the holiday has declined since revolutionary times, Independence Day remains an important occasion and symbol of freedom and patriotism today.

From all of us here at OrthoAccel Technologies, Inc. we want to wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!