American History 101

July 1st, 2014 by Leave a reply »

United-States-with-American-FlagPeople all over the country are gearing up to celebrate that most patriotic of holidays, the Fourth of July. This glorious red-white-and-blue event usually means bonfires, barbecues, and trips to the nearest body of water. But, as is the case with many of our other patriotic holidays, we party-loving Americans tend to forget the real “reason for the season.” Why does Independence Day really exist? Let’s have a brief lesson on American history!

Independence Day in the United States, at its simplest, is a celebration of our nation’s independence from the United Kingdom. This major feat was accomplished in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted. Technically, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2nd that year, but the date that is celebrated (July 4) is the one that is shown on the Declaration of Independence. John Adams had predicted at one time that July 2 would be a day of great celebration for the United States, but he was off by a few days.

The United States were declared independent from Great Britain after the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a “resolution of independence,” which is what happened on July 2, 1776. After that task had been accomplished, then they turned their attention to approving the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence is a document that explains the reasoning behind our separation from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Historians generally believe that, although the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, it was probably not signed until almost one month later (August 2).

This holiday is a day of celebration for most — if not all — Americans, with parades, carnivals, fireworks, and cookouts occurring all over the nation. If the holiday falls in the middle of the week, celebrations on the 4th may be more subdued, while the following weekend may be reserved for larger celebrations. There are many historic celebrations that are still held to this day: Bristol, Rhode Island’s 4th of July celebration is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the country, having been established in 1785! Another notable event is the International Freedom Festival, started in 1959, which is a joint celebration between the cities of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. This festival celebrates both the American Independence Day on July 4 and Canada Day (July 1), which is a celebration of “the birthday of Canada.”

If you are planning on attending an Independence Day party this year, make sure to thank your host or hostess with a thoughtful gift. LobsterGram‘s e-gift cards make it easy to give the gifts of  seafood and cookware; World Market offers home decor, wine, goodies, and gifts from all around the world; and Wine Enthusiast gift cards allow you to give your host the gift of wine without worrying that you’ll pick a bottle they don’t like! If you are hosting a party yourself, is an excellent resource for cookbooks, kitchen tools, and cookware; Lowe’s will help you out if your grill decides to quit at the last minute; and WalMart is a great place to find decorations for your party!

From the GiftZip family to yours: have a safe, happy, patriotic Fourth of July!

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