The Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day in the United States. It is a federal holiday meant to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration Of Independence, which occurred on July 4, 1776. Today, the holiday is celebrated with fireworks, picnics, and other festivities.
The Thirteen Colonies: America's Genesis
- Virginia, founded 1607.
- New York, founded 1624.
- New Hampshire, founded 1622
- Massachusetts, founded in 1630. Famously home to the Boston Massacre of 1770 and the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
- Maryland, founded in 1632.
- Connecticut, founded in 1635.
- Rhode Island, founded in 1636. This smallest colony is also the first colony to have established independence and declared separation from England.
- Delaware, founded in 1638. The Battle of Delaware Bay occurred here during the American Revolutionary War, the first time the 13-star colonial flag made its appearance in battle. Delaware is America's first state.
- North Carolina, founded 1653.
- South Carolina, founded 1663.
- New Jersey, founded in 1664.
- Pennsylvania, founded 1681.
- Georgia, founded 1733.
Breaking Away From British Rule: The American Revolution
- The Stamp Act
The first real trouble came in 1765, when the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, meant to raise money to give the Thirteen Colonies a standing army. Colonists rebelled and the Stamp Act Congress was convened in October 1765 in opposition. When the Stamp Act was enacted anyway, colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and sometimes organized attacks on the homes of tax collectors and customs houses.
- The Tea Act
The Stamp Act was repealed in March of 1766, and colonists remained largely quiet under British rule until the Tea Act was enacted in 1773. This gave a tea trade monopoly to the British East India Company, which allowed it to undercut all other competition. Colonists saw this as another example of the British overstepping powers with taxation control.
- The Boston Tea Party and The Coercive Acts
The famous Boston Tea Party happened when patriots dumped British tea valued at some 18,000 pounds into Boston Harbor in protest. In response, British Parliament enacted the Coercive Acts, which closed Boston off from merchant shipping, established military rule in Massachusetts, made it impossible to prosecute British officials in colonial America, and required colonists to shelter British troops. The first Continental Congress convened to discuss establishing American resistance to the British. Massachusetts led by establishing its own government and militia to resist British military presence.
- The Revolutionary War and Independence
In April 1775, Thomas Gage, British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, to take down a Patriot arsenal established there. However, on April 19, the British encountered American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution rang out. American independence was recognized by the US on July 4, 1776, but the Revolutionary War did not end until September 3, 1783, when England recognized our independence in the Treaty of Paris.