The long story of July 4th


This country has a vacation dedicated to our war dead, workers and women, veterans and presidents. No holiday, however, has a longer history than July 4 – the birthday of the United States of America.

Slowly but surely, the path to independence was mapped out after the adoption of the coercive acts of 1774 and the meeting of the First Continental Congress.

In England, the government was dominated by a conservative element that insisted that the center of the empire was the motherland. In the colonies, the Whigs, patriots or radicals unite little by little.

It was only a matter of time before the break came. This was the case with the Act of Prohibition of December 1775; no imperial trade with the rebel colonies.

Common sense

While the colonies denounce the act of prohibition, a pamphlet comes out of the printing press which will fertilize the movement towards independence. Written in a style the average colonist could easily understand, Common sense drove home with fierce blows the need for independence.

Written by Thomas Paine, the 50-page booklet published in Philadelphia described reconciliation as only “a pleasant dream.” With 120,000 copies printed in just three months, the leaflet crystallizes the spirit of independence.

On June 7, 1776, revolutionary statesman Richard Henry Lee, on behalf of the Virginia delegation, submitted a resolution declaring that “these united colonies should be free and independent states … and that all political ties between them and Great Britain are totally dissolved. . “

Three days later, the Second Continental Congress voted to appoint a committee to prepare a statement in support of Lee’s resolution. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson were the members of the committee.

Jefferson’s proclamation

The task of writing the proclamation was given to Jefferson. Before submitting his draft to the committee, Jefferson showed it to Adams and Franklin, who together made 26 changes, mostly verbal, but included three new paragraphs. The project was reviewed and approved by the entire committee and submitted to Congress.

During the debates in Congress, other changes were made, the most important being the omission of the paragraph on the slave trade and the rewording in the final segment.

Despite these modifications, the famous document is essentially Jefferson’s calligraphy. On July 2, 1776, Congress approved Lee’s resolution. This resolution is, properly speaking, the official declaration of independence of Great Britain.

Jefferson’s committee work was approved after Lee’s vote and was a document proclaiming to the world the reason for declaring independence.

Three main parts

Approved by Congress on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence consisted of three main parts. One was a repeat of Lee’s resolve.

The second was the preamble, which spelled out the natural rights formulated by John Locke and other earlier philosophers. Among the most important were that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed… with certain inalienable rights; … Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ”This statement was similar to the first article of the Virginia Bill of Rights, written by George Mason.

The third part contained the “facts” which had motivated the issuance of the declaration. These were some 28 grievances generally accusing King George III, head of government whose colonies declared their independence, for “repeated injuries and usurpations”. Little was new in the statements except that the focus was shifted from Parliament to the King for wrongdoing.

The declaration of independence was not signed immediately. The parchment was not ready until August 2, 1776, and the official signing then began. Because some members were absent from Congress on that date, they were allowed to sign their signatures later. The last of the 56 signatures was affixed in the summer of 1781.

Political effects

The proclamation of independence had serious political effects on the new United States. It was a distinct triumph for the radicals, who had been largely responsible for bringing about it.

It was a terrible blow to the Conservatives or the Conservatives. They believed that they should remain loyal to the king and the country, but in doing so, they became traitors and enemies in the eyes of their neighbors.

For the moderate element, reconciliation with England no longer existed. Some of them tried to stay on the fence, supporting American troops when they were close and England in the presence of British troops. The majority of moderates drifted towards the cause of independence during the American Revolution.


The declaration of independence is one of the great milestones in human history. It served a purpose beyond that of a public notice of separation. The ideas contained in the document inspired mass fervor for the American course in affirming human rights and worth.

By simplifying the issues of the conflict, the Declaration made the revolution a personal struggle for the common man to combat the heinous features of European despotism that so many had fled in previous years.

By giving the common man a personal interest in his government, the ideas of the Declaration placed the revolution in the field of popular aspirations and reinforced it with the force of popular emotion.

John Adams, a member of the Continental Congress, signatory of the Declaration of Independence, and second President of the United States, was so passionate about independence that on the evening of July 4, 1776, he wrote a letter to his beloved wife Abigail. .

In jubilation, he scribbled that the event “should be celebrated with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, throughout. other of this continent, from now on, forever. . “

Adams’s last year in Congress, in 1777, he introduced the resolution establishing the American flag with 13 red and white stripes and a union of 13 stars on a blue field representing each state.

Adams and retired Jefferson corresponded with each other, and on his deathbed, Adams’s last words were from his old friend: “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

But by an extraordinary whim of fate, Jefferson died the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence for which they had both fought so hard. It’s your story!


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