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U.S. Time Periods » 1763-1815: Revolution

Independence Day: Today in History

tells how we've celebrated July 4 since that day in 1776, when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. Independence Day celebrations became commonplace after the War of 1812, when events like the ground-breaking ceremony for the Erie Canal were scheduled to coincide with July 4 festivities. By the 1870s, the Fourth of July was the most important secular holiday on the calendar. (Library of Congress)

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Interesting Fact:

When North Carolina and Virginia empowered their delegates to vote for American independence, Virginian Richard Henry Lee offered a resolution stating that the colonies "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States." A committee was appointed to draft a declaration of independence, and Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write it. On July 2, Congress voted in favor of independence, and on July 4, the Declaration of Independence was approved.
Cover of 'Hurrah for the USA.' Words and music by W.E. Howard, 1915. Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920

Hurrah for the USA


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