This is the most famous day of the year that is celebrated in the United States. This day unites all Americans on the Fourth of July. But what is Independence Day and what is the history behind it?
Well, read on and I will explain it all to you. And I will also show you how you can trace your American ancestry.
What’s in a name?
Independence Day as the name suggests is the anniversary of when the United States declared independence from Great Britain in 1776.
The war between thirteen colonies and Britain began a year earlier in 1775 and would go on for a further 8 years until 1783.
This post as I mentioned at the beginning explains the history of America’s War of Independence.
Independence Day – July 4th
Why Research Your Military Ancestors?
Before I continue to explain how this conflict all started let me just ask you a couple of questions.
Do you know whether you have any military ancestors in your family?
Do you know any of their stories or how they contributed to any war or conflict?
Obsession is good!
The reason that I ask is that I am ‘obsessed‘ with finding out all that I can about my ancestors.
This goes from when and where they were born, to their adult lives and ultimately when and where they died.
There are many sources of information that are in our homes.
Or, we can ask older family members or friends who knew our ancestors.
These are just a few of the free options that are available to us.
Ancestry can help your search!
If you are well on your way to discovering your family tree then you can check out the Ancestry website.
There are directories and registers that you may not have explored yet.
But also this genealogy site includes military records where you may be able to find your own family.
Why not find out about your military ancestors today and add their story to your family history.
The Story Behind Independence Day
The British started to colonize America as early as 1607. Their first permanent settlement was at Jamestown in Virginia on the eastern coast of the United States.
There had been colonization of America beforehand but not as important as the British settlement.
But what went wrong?
The beginning of the war!
The American Revolutionary War, or sometimes referred to as the American War of Independence, began in 1775 when thirteen colonies revolted against the British.
They were opposed to the royal authority that had governed their lives.
These colonists were referred to as Rebels, Revolutionaries, and American Whigs.
You may also have heard of the term Patriot, which means a person who defends their country against enemy forces.
There is even a holiday known as Patriot’s Day that is celebrated in the states of Maine and Massachusetts.
The first revolt!
There were fights and boycotts even before the war began in 1775. One of the most famous incidents of all you may have heard of, the Boston Tea Party.
This incident occurred in 1773 when a shipment of tea arriving at Boston was set alight.
War began on April 19th, 1775 when the British tried to seize munitions that the state of Massachusetts possessed.
The British were however not successful in their mission and so were forced to evacuate their troops after a 10-month standoff.
Signing the Declaration of Independence!
The Continental Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, 1776.
It would be two days later on July 4th that the final wording for the Declaration was approved and published.
Then on July 8th, the Declaration was publicly read out for the first time.
You may be surprised to know that this document was not signed until a month later on August 2nd.
A century later in 1870 Independence Day was made a federal holiday. It was however unpaid.
Then in 1941 workers were finally paid for this time off and to celebrate a time in American history.
Two United States Presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence died on July 4th.
They were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both of who died the same year 1826, which was 50 years after they signed the document.
What Can You Do On Independence Day?
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3rd, 1776 that this date in U.S. history would be celebrated with “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations“.
It would not be until 1791 however that the term Independence Day would be used.
So, what can you do?
Independence Day is a day of celebration for Americans. You can expect to find people celebrating with family and friends at picnics and barbecues.
There are also traditional watermelon and hotdog eating competitions, two of the most famous food offerings in America.
You can also expect to find many sporting events to take place on this special day.
These range from baseball, swimming activities, tug-of-wars games, and even three-legged races.
Independence Day is also a patriotic time for Americans as you will see many American flags proudly being flown.
You will see these from government buildings, people’s houses and also people wearing them on T-Shirts and caps.
There will be many firework displays put on for the public on this day as well!
You will see many politicians appear at events such as this to show appreciation for American history and its heritage.
For the American people, this is a day for them to give thanks to their forefathers who gave them the freedom and liberties that they have today.
My Final Thoughts
Whatever you do decide to do on this special day I do hope that you take time out and think about the history and the formation of the United States.
Who knows maybe one of your ancestors fought in the American War of Independence and helped to build the country we know today.
That would be a great story to tell our children and our grandchildren.
Talk to your relatives and discover your ancestry!
If you do decide to spend this time with your family then may I suggest you take this opportunity and ask your older relatives about your ancestors.
Maybe they have some fascinating stories that you could record.
If you do not do it then who will?
Ancestry can help your search!
If you do want to find out if you have any military ancestors in your family then why not check out the Ancestry website.
There are 20 billion records that you can search through.
And there are more being added all the time.
I have always been astounded as to what I will find out when using Ancestry, or any other genealogy site for that matter.
That is the beauty of genealogy. You just don’t know who you will discover and what their story will be.
You just have to start looking!
Why not head on over to the Military website to uncover more about this special day.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what Independence Day is all about. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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