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The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on the 4th of July, 1776 – now known as Independence Day – and every year Americans honor the 4th of July as the birthday of the United States of America.
See the fact file below for more information on the Fourth of July or alternatively, you can download our 35-page Fourth of July worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In 1775, during the Revolutionary War, very few colonists wanted complete independence from Great Britain.
- By 1776, hostility against Great Britain increased and radical, revolutionary notions were starting to gain traction.
- On June 7, 1776, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia and Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia, ushered in a motion calling for the independence of the colonies.
- Debate spurred and Congress postponed the vote on the resolution.
- A committee consisting of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston was formed.
- The committee drafted a statement justifying independence from Great Britain.
- In a near-unanimous vote, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2, 1776.
- It was on the 4th of July when the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.
- The vote for actual independence happened on July 2nd, but the 4th became the Independence Day of the United States because of the formal declaration.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
- The Declaration of Independence is the formal statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress in a meeting that took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 4th of July, 1776.
- The Declaration proclaimed that the Thirteen Colonies in the midst of battle with Great Britain would be regarded as independent sovereign states, free from British sovereignty.
- The independence of the thirteen states marked the beginning of the formation of the United States of America.
- The thirteen colonies consisted of Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
- Prior to being called the Declaration of Independence, it was first referred to as the Lee Resolution, named after Richard Henry Lee.
- Thomas Jefferson drafted the original Declaration of Independence, upon the persuasion of John Adams of the committee.
- Congress edited Jefferson’s composition and came up with the final version.
- In the Declaration, Congress explained why they had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, after the American Revolutionary War broke out.
- Signatures of fifty-six delegates of Congress are affixed on the Declaration.
- John Hancock as President of Congress presumably signed first on the engrossed copy.
- After gaining Congress’ approval of the final wording of the Declaration on July 4, a copy was sent to be printed in Dunlap broadsides.
- The original draft can be found in the Library of Congress, in its preserved form with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and notes of Congress.
- The official signed version is preserved at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS
- In the summer of 1776, a few colonists celebrated Independence Day by conducting mock funerals for King George III, to symbolize the beginning of liberty and end of the monarchy’s reign on the United States.
- Bonfires, parades, music concerts, and the firing of cannons were the usual festivities of Independence Day.
- The Declaration of Independence was also read in public.
- Amidst the ongoing war, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence.
- On July 4, 1778, George Washington issued twice the usual rations of rum to his soldiers.
- In 1781, Massachusetts became the first of the states to make July 4th an official state holiday.
- Americans continued to commemorate the birth of independence even after the Revolutionary war.
- The festivities allowed a sense of unity among US citizens.
- By the end of the 18th century, the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party started holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in major cities.
- In 1812, the United States faced another war against Great Britain, which resulted in a deepened patriotism that manifested itself in 4th of July commemorations.
- In 1870, July 4th became a federal holiday as voted by Congress.
- In 1941, it became a paid holiday to every federal employee.
- It is undeniably one of the most important national holidays in the US.
- In present times, 4th of July celebrations focus more on leisure activities and family get-togethers.
- Fireworks and outdoor barbecues are a common sight.
- The most common symbol of Independence Day is the American flag.
- The national anthem of the United States named “The Star-Spangled Banner” is usually played during the 4th of July.
- July 4th is also the Republic Day of the Philippines, which is a commemoration of July 4, 1946 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory.
Fourth of July Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Fourth of July across 35 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Fourth of July worksheets that are perfect for teaching students that Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on the 4th of July, 1776 – now known as Independence Day – and every year Americans honor the 4th of July as the birthday of the United States of America
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Fourth of July Facts
- The Founding Fathers
- The Original Thirteen Colonies
- US Presidents
- Which is TRUE?
- The American Flag
- Independence Day Acrostics
- America’s National Symbols
- American Revolutionary War 101
- Born on the 4th of July
- Battle to Independence Crossword
- All About Hancock
- Dating Calendar
- Across the World
- Women Freedom Fighters
- The Declaration of Independence
- Filipino-American Friendship Day
- Poster Making
- What Freedom Means to Me
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Link will appear as Fourth of July Worksheets and Facts: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 12, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.