Independence Day: The Fourth of July
July 4th is the perfect time to let your patriotism shine. Read on to find out how the United States of America came to be the country it is today.
History Behind the Holiday
In the beginning of U.S.'s history, 13 colonies were ruled by the King of England, King George III. These colonies were tired of having a king 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Two acts of defiance made history. Tea was purposely dumped into the Massachusetts Bay (this event, known as the Boston Tea Party, was a reaction by the people to England raising their taxes) and, in Boston harbor, British soldiers fired into a crowd after being jeered and stoned. The number of people killed was exaggerated (only a few people died), but the event became known as the Massacre.
The Big Vote
Virginia took the first step and voted to set up a group to represent the colonies. The first meeting was in 1774 and a draft of a document that would give them freedom from England was written. This document, called the Declaration of Independence, was considered treason and the 56 men who signed it were in some serious danger of being executed. But, they stood by what they believed in - the right to independence.
The First Fourth of July
Things didn't happen overnight. It took years for the final draft of the Declaration to be written. At the same time, the American Revolution was taking place. The draft was finally accepted on July 4, 1776. Over the next month, the document was read to the public and people celebrated whenever they heard it. In 1783 the war finally ended and Independence Day was made an official holiday.
Every July 4th Americans have a day off work and stuff themselves full of food at picnics. There are activities in the afternoon including baseball games, music and more food. Some cities have parades. Then, at dusk, people watch fireworks displays. This is one birthday celebration you don't want to miss.
Odd U.S. Facts
- There are more plastic pink flamingos in the U.S. than real ones.
- According to NASA, the U.S. has the world's most violent weather. In an average year, the U.S. can expect about 10,000 really bad thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and several hurricanes.
- The most popular fruit in the States is the banana. The average person eats 33 pounds of bananas every year.
- The Liberty Bell wasn't made in the U.S. and wasn't rung on the first Independence Day. It was actually made in London in 1752, cracked in 1835 and wasn't named Liberty until the 1830s, in memory of slaves pursuing their freedom.
Have Your Say
How do you celebrate July 4? Let us know!