Monday, July 04, 2005
Independence Day is most commonly known as the 4th of July and is the birthday of the Declaration of Independence which marked the start of the United States of America. Although it is celebrated on July 4th each year in the United States, it is not the date when all 13 of the original colonies signed the document which took a few years to get to the final document we all know.
The original resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, and called for the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British rule.
June 28, 1776 -- Jefferson presents the first draft of the declaration to congress.
July 4, 1776 -- After various changes to Jefferson's original draft, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th.
Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration; 2, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No; Delaware was undecided and New York abstained. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. It is said that he signed his name "with a great flourish" so "King George can read that without spectacles!"
July 4, 1777 -- The first Independence Day celebration takes place. It's interesting to speculate what those first 4th festivities were like. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were firmly established as part of American Independence Day culture.