American Independence Day
4th of July

July 4th – American Independence Day! This is a remarkable day in our history – on July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress formally declared that the thirteen American colonies were now independent states.

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The colonies had been at war with Great Britain since the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Read the Concord Hymn, written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which describes the Battle of Concord.

The Parliament of Great Britain had passed various acts imposing taxes on the colonies. Of course, the colonies were not represented in Parliament and therefore argued against taxation without representation. Arguments expanded to Great Britain’s overreach of authority in the affairs of the colonies.

Following the Boston Tea Party, Parliament enacted more acts to punish Massachusetts, set an example, and discourage the colonists from such future actions. These acts included putting the government of Massachusetts under control of the British government.

On November 29, 1775, Thomas Jefferson said:

”Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain that I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.”

Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense in 1776, which argued in favor of independence. This prompted public debate over the pros and cons of separating from Great Britain.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted to adopt the resolution of independence. This officially severed our political ties with the British Empire. On July 4, 1776, the Congress finalized the wording of the declaration and it became our Declaration of Independence.

Patriotic Poems

In the United States, our American Independence Day, better known as the 4th of July, is a day for parades and picnics, fireworks and barbeques. We get together with family and friends to eat, play games, and laugh.

It is also a time to reflect on the momentous and extraordinary decisions made more than 200 years ago regarding our independence. Can you imagine the sacrifices made to secure that independence?

"We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

”Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not." - John Adams, letter to his wife Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

This declaration of our independence is often considered the moral guide of our country. Read these words of Abraham Lincoln, as he debated Stephen Douglas for a Senate seat on August 17, 1858 in Lewistown, Illinois:

”They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began—so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.” ( - “Abraham Lincoln on The Declaration of Independence”)

July 4th is our American Independence Day. Read the Declaration of Independence. Share it with your children. Discuss it with friends.

Renew the spirit!

Share Your Spirit of Independence

Do you have a great poem, story, or quote about America's independence? Please share it! If they are the words of another author, please include the author's name.

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