July 4th

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Happy 4th of July

Celebrate Independence

Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.


July 4th Becomes A National Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States.

Did you know?

  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence

    The Declaration of Independence announced the intention of the 13 American colonies to separate from Great Britain.

  • American Revolution

    American Revolution

    During the American Revolution, Great Britain's 13 American colonies rose up in insurrection and won their independence.

  • The Continental Congress

    The Continental Congress

    From 1774 to 1789, the Continental Congress served as the government of the 13 American colonies and later the United States.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) authored the Declaration of Independence and served as America's third president from 1801 to 1809.  

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