History of July 4

On July 4, 1776, America claimed her independence from Britain and a new democracy was born. Go through this wonderful article to know about the enchanting history of American freedom and how the 4th of July became the Independence Day for Americans. If you like reading about the history of July 4, click here and share this article with all your friends and dear ones. Wish you a happy Fourth Of July!
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It was in the early 16th century that the great Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered America and safely landed on her shores. This was to be the first European contact with the American mainland that soon led to a full-fledged migration of many Europeans to the American soil. Travelling back to the 17th century, we find many parts of America peopled by West European inhabitants. There were settlements of the British, the Dutch, the French and the Spanish in various parts of North America. But the Britishers soon outnumbered the others and the British colonies in America rapidly grew in number. By 1732, there were 13 British colonies, each of them having their own governments running under governors appointed by the British monarchs.

Problems began when the immigrant Americans were prevented to manufacture any goods that competed with similar items created back home in Britain. Added to this, Britain levied taxes on a host of consumer goods including tea, glass, paper and molasses. The collective anger of Americans were roused when the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765. According to this law, a duty was imposed on all legal or commercial documents, newspapers and pamphlets in the American Colonies in the form of a stamp. Though widespread opposition led to the repeal of the act in 1766, the bitterness remained. The discontentment was further enhanced when the Americans noticed the British apathy towards their grievances despite their active support to them during the war with French.

Matters came to a head when a fresh tax on tea was imposed in 1773. Deciding this was enough, some Americans dressed as Red Indians boarded tea ships in Boston Harbor and tipped them into the water. This historic event became famously known as "The Boston Tea Party". In retaliation, the British closed the Boston Harbor and removed the city's charter. The Americans replied to this action by issuing a Declaration Of Rights which, among other things, prohibited import of any goods from Britain until Boston's civic rights were restored. In 1774, the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the aim of forming the First Continental Congress. Despite their resentment, the delegates were were not yet ready to declare war against England, then under the reign of king George III.

The outrage gave rise to a bloody war in April, 1775 when the British government tried to arrest two of the American leaders at Lexington near Boston Harbor. The British troops are believed to have fired first shots at Lexington. This sparked the first fight between Americans and British, a war known popularly as "The Battle of Concord". Soon the royal troops advanced on Concord, Massachusetts. It marked the unofficial beginning of the American war for Independence. The British troops led by General Howe were defeated near Boston. But the Americans were in deep waters, for they lacked the might of the British Empire. The following May the colonies again sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. The Congressmen tried to negotiate with England for almost a year, but their efforts failed and by June 1776 a committee was formed to compose a formal Declaration of Independence. The same year, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th at a meeting in Philadelphia. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against it while New York abstained from the voting process. This day was highly significant for the Americans and the first Independence Day celebration took place on the same date in the following year, even though the country did not actually gain its freedom till then. When the nation gained its independence, the 4th of July began to be annually celebrated as the American Independence Day.

On July 8th, the Declaration had it's first public reading in Philadelphia's Independence Square.

The war between American and British troops continued for several months with fortune favouring George Washington, the American commander-in-chief. Finally in 1781, the British forces gave up when the troops led by General Cornwallis suffered a huge defeat. Following a negotiation in Paris in 1783, the 13 colonies of America were officially declared to be independent. The United States of America came into existence with a union of 13 thirteen sovereign states from Main to Georgia.

However, the first government created to manage these states proved to be a very weak one. For almost four years, the problems of governance continued to plague the American states till a convention held in 1788 led to the swift formation and ratification of a constitution based on the Philadelphia Declaration. The draft was quickly approved resulting in the establishment of a more efficient federal government with George Washington as the unanimously elected president. He was the first president who took office in 1789.

Thus the United States of America was born and July 4 became the American Independence Day.

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