Skip to main content
Select Source:

Independence Day

INDEPENDENCE DAY


INDEPENDENCE DAY. The adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776 has caused that day to be taken as the birth date of the United States of America. Strangely, the commemoration of the Fourth of July received its first big impetus and had the pattern set for its celebration before the event even came to pass. On 3 July, John Adams wrote to his wife:

The second day of July, 1776,…Iamaptto believe … will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.

Adams was thinking of the resolution of independence adopted on 2 July as the pivotal event, but the Declaration of Independence soon completely obscured the resolution.

The first anniversary does not appear to have been commemorated throughout the thirteen states, but there were elaborate celebrations in the principal cities, and parades, the firing of guns, the ringing of bells, decorations, illuminations, fireworks, and the drinking of toasts constituted the chief features in every instance. The practice of commemorating the Glorious Fourth soon spread widely, particularly after the adoption of the Constitution. As the years went by, some of the early features of the celebration declined or disappeared entirely, such as the thirteen guns and thirteen (or thirteen times thirteen) toasts. Meanwhile, sports and games, which at first were only a minor part of the festivities, became the greatest attraction. In country regions, the Fourth of July became a day for picnics, with exhibitions of skill in such contests as potato races, watermelon eating, and catching the greased pig, without much thought of the Declaration of Independence. Since 1777, fireworks, great and small, have held a prominent place. In the early 1900s, serious efforts were made to promote safety in Fourth of July celebrations, and in ensuing years the personal possession of fireworks has been outlawed in many states.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bodnar, John, ed. Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Knopf, 1998.

Edmund C.Burnett/a. g.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Independence Day." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Independence Day." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/independence-day

"Independence Day." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/independence-day

Fourth of July

Fourth of July, Independence Day, or July Fourth, U.S. holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration on July 4, 1776; it had previously voted to declare independence on July 2d. Celebration of the day began during the American Revolution, and it has been the most important American patriotic holiday ever since. Traditionally it has been celebrated with the firing of guns and fireworks, parades, open-air meetings, and patriotic speeches. Today local ordinances prevent much of the former display of fireworks and use of firearms.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Fourth of July." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Fourth of July." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fourth-july

"Fourth of July." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fourth-july

Fourth of July

FOURTH OF JULY

FOURTH OF JULY. SeeIndependence Day .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Fourth of July." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Fourth of July." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fourth-july

"Fourth of July." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fourth-july

Independence Day

Independence Day (Israel): see YOM HAATZMAʾUT.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Independence Day." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Independence Day." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/independence-day

"Independence Day." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/independence-day

Independence Day

Independence Day: see Fourth of July.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Independence Day." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Independence Day." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/independence-day

"Independence Day." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/independence-day

Independence Day

Independence Day See Fourth of July

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Independence Day." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Independence Day." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/independence-day

"Independence Day." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/independence-day