4th of July Celebrations

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American Flag with Bald EagleAmerica celebrates the 4th of July every year. While many people know that it’s celebrated as an act of patriotism, there are many people who don’t know the full history of the fourth.

Ask your average American on the street, and you might hear that July 4, 1776, was the day we earned our independence through the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Many also know that it is important to vets and everyone who has served their country.

A Brief History

In truth, the Continental Congress declared our independence two days earlier on July 2, 1776. It also wasn’t the date that we began the American Revolution. The revolution started back in April 1775, a full year earlier. It also wasn’t the date that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (June 1776), the date it was delivered to Great Britain (November 1776) or the actual date of signing (August 2, 1776.)

Now that you know what didn’t happen on July 4, 1776, it’s time to talk about why we celebrate our independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July. Even though the Declaration of Independence was approved a full two days earlier, members of the Continental Congress continued to edit the document. The final edits were approved on July 4, 1776. The date was included in the Declaration of Independence, and a handwritten signed copy was created in August. That copy is now available on display at the National Archives in Washinton, D.C.

The original printed copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated throughout the land on the Dunlap Broadsides. Since July 4, 1776, was written on the printed copies, we started to celebrate our independence on the 4th of July.

Additionally, Constitution Day is celebrated on the 17th of September. This date is also the date that the document was signed, and it is not the date it was actually approved. By following that logic, we should be celebrating our Independence Day on the 2nd of August. Of course, the 2nd of August just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

How Signing Creates a Holiday

Celebrating the 4th of July wasn’t something that people thought to do for the first two decades after the document was signed. It was likely just a piece of legislation that was required to formally declare out independence.

Fast-forward to the 1790s, and the political environment was beginning to get a bit tenser. There were bitter conflicts going on, and the Declaration of Independence had become a controversial document. The Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists had differing viewpoints about the nature of the document. The Federalists felt that the Declaration wasn’t American enough and bashed the British a bit too much. The Democratic-Republicans thought Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence was a work of art that required no further modifications.

John Adams drafted a letter in 1817 stating that America didn’t care about its past, but public opinion began to change after the War of 1812. The beginnings of acceptance can be traced back to the Federalists losing their political capital and starting to come apart at the seams. In the 1820s and 30s, the Declaration of Independence began circulating again. July 4, 1776, was listed clearly at the top of the document, and for evermore this date became known as the date we received our independence.

As the years went on, celebrations started to crop up around the country. Perhaps it was because people could finally see that the United States of America was doing well and the Declaration of Independence was a pretty cool thing. Perhaps it was because both Thoms Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, and the date began to hold a bit of spiritual significance. No matter the reason, Congress declared July 4 a national holiday in 1870, and we’ve had a blast watching the fireworks ever since.

At Espinoza Bail Bonds, we believe that our mission to help defendants get released from jail before their court date. In the spirit of our forefathers, we work to restore the rights and freedoms of those who have been accused of a crime but not yet sentenced. Bail bonds can provide defendants with several months of freedom before a trial takes place. We believe in the rights of all Americans, and spending time in jail when you haven’t yet been convicted of a crime doesn’t make sense.