The Significance of an American Holiday


July 4, 1776 is the day generally recognized as when America declared its independence from Great Britain. It is the day all Americans set aside in remembrance of the struggle for freedom, and the beginnings of a new country’s struggle for recognition and independence. In reality, the day may not be all that significant if we are talking about important days in history. In fact, American colonists were murmuring about independence long before July of 1776.

Founding father John Adams thought it would be July 2, 1776 that would be officially remembered as independence day, as he explained in a letter to his wife Abigail Adams. July 2 was the day that the second Continental Congress voted for and passed a motion for the separation of the colonies from Great Britain. This decision set in motion all of the other events that led to America’s independence.

In the days after the meeting of the Continental Congress, there were more debates over just what declaring independence would mean. Thomas Jefferson, along with several others, began work on the Declaration of Independence. The document was finished on July 4, 1776. There is some discrepancy among historians, but it is very possible that the declaration was not even signed until early August.

It would be another 8 years until America could officially be declared as independent, and the new Americans were not out of the woods yet. Declaring independence was all well and good, but only if they could keep it. Young America and its people would have to prove themselves by weathering their own internal rebellions and successfully installing their own government and laws as well as endure the incursions of other countries that thought America was weak enough to swallow up again. Regardless of what did or did not happen on July 4, 1776, the day will forever be a symbol of freedom, and a reminder of the sacrifices made to keep it.

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