Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States and Americans celebrate it every year on the Fourth of July. It commemorates the country's freedom from the rule of Great Britain. During the 1700's, there were 13 colonies and they resented being taxed without representation. They also felt restricted in being able to voice their concerns and problems to the British Government. Whenever they tried to do this, the English Parliament would use bullying tactics in order to keep them controlled.

A preview of what would become America's Independence occurred in 1773. Citizens of Boston, Massachusettes, led by Samuel Adams, decided to play a joke on England. They were upset that a tax had been levied on tea. Bostonians dumped a cargo of India Company Tea into the Massachusetts Bay. King George was outraged by this conduct and he ordered British soldiers to stop it. The colonists resisted this effort and fought back against them. This incident resulted in the deaths of some people. Today, it is still referred to as a "massacre." The next year, all of the colonies sent representatives to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to come to a compromise with the government. This was known as the First Continental Congress. These men drew up a list of grievances that would separate the colonies from England. This was the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

It was not adopted because it was considered treasonous and members that signed it could be executed. In May of 1776, the colonies sent another to Philadelphia, led by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. This was the Second Continental Congress and after intense debate and discussion, they could not work out their differences with England. They could not come up with a compromise with Great Britain, so they decided to form a committee and vote on this resolution. On July 4, 1776, Congress unamiously approved the measure and America gained its independence. Technically, it was done on July 2, but it had to be revised and became official two days later. Four days later, Americans began to celebrate the special occasion and the document was read throughout the country. The next year was the beginning of the yearly celebration of America's independence and it promotes all the things that make this country great.

21st Century Independence Day

Today, it is perhaps the most popular holiday in the United States. Politicans give speeches about the enduring values and freedoms of the nation. Bells are rung, flags are placed in yards, or in people's windows. Parades and festivals are held to celebrate traditions. Parks are flooded with citizens holding picnics or having family gatherings. Children also love to light up firecrackers and hang out with their friends. Independence Day is a great event because it reminds us all about how and why we love America. It does not matter what your race or gender is, or what your political ideology is. There is always room for different opinions and lifestyles in our great country. Living in this nation is a beautiful thing. Have a great Independence day!  

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