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Fourth of July - July 04, 2014
The 4th of July is the oldest authentic celebration in the history of the United States because that is when the nation was founded. In 1776, a group of men gathered in a room to place into action events that would change the landscape of the world.
Most of the men who were part of the Declaration of Independence knew that they would not have a chance to change their minds at a later date. They knew that England would not take their rebellion lightly, but they did it anyway because they felt it was the right decision.
Lost in history at times is the fact that the separation papers filed for the thirteen colonies occurred on July 2. It was on that date that the Second Continental Congress approved the written resolution of Richard Henry Lee from the state of Virginia. John Adams wrote to his wife explaining that July 2 would always be remembered in history as Independence Day for the fledgling United States of America.
What Adams didn't realize was that the people were more inclined to remember the second document that the Congress committee of five wrote to explain the action. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Benjamin Franklin penned the Declaration of Independence in 17 days. They had begun on June 11 and presented the first draft to Congress on June 28.
Two passages of the Declaration were taken out of the early version. One of those was the denunciation of the slave trade and the other was an unflattering reference to the English. Final approval of the document took place on July 4.
Historians aren't in agreement of when the Declaration was actually signed. Even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all claimed to have signed on July 4, most historic authorities believe the document was signed on August 2, 1776. Little does it matter at this point in history whether the date was right or not, for the 4th of July is what the people always recognized as the official holiday.
Two of those who signed the Declaration of Independence went on to serve as President of the United States. John Adams served as the second President of the United States (1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson held the post for two terms as the country's 3rd President (1801-1809). Both men died the same day, ironically, on the 4th of July 1826, fifty years after the day honored as Independence Day.
Other Presidents who have ties to the Day of Independence include James Monroe, who was the fifth man to hold the office. He, like number two and three, died on July 4, five years after Adams and Jefferson. The only President born on the actual date of the Declaration of Independence was Calvin Coolidge (1872), the thirteenth man to hold the office.
The 4th of July 2011 will be held on a Monday, making for a three day weekend for many Americans.
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