On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress of the former 13 colonies approved and adopted a document that is popularly known as the Declaration of Independence. Generally, it stated that the former 13 colonies, which at the time were British colonies in North America, had separated from the British Empire. The document explained why on July 12th, the Continental Congress voted and resolved unanimously with 12 votes of the colonies to be independent. New York had abstained. The day they voted to separate officially was July 2nd, although July 4th, refers to the date when the document was adopted. It is the day celebrated every year as Independence Day.
The Declaration of Independence is widely regarded as the first formal statement of the American people asserting their freedom to choose their government. April 1775 marked the beginning of the conflict between the British soldiers and the different groups of American colonists. At the time, the Americans were fighting for their rights as British crown subjects. By summer, the Revolutionary War was already raging, and the movement for independence was simmering. The delegates of the Continental Congress chose to vote on the issue. A five-person committee was established in mid-1776. The committee included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. They were to come up with the official statement of the intentions of the colonies.
It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the document now popularly known as the Declaration of Independence. Following his publication in 1774 of a tract titled “A Summary View of the Rights of the British Americans.” The publication highlighted complaints against King George III and was debated in the Continental Congress. Out of this, Jefferson was seen as an eloquent crusader for a patriotic cause. After he drafted the Declaration of Independence, it was presented to Congress for revision and debate on June 28th. It was adopted on July 4th in Philadelphia.
The declaration of Independence was signed on August 2nd, 1776, in Philadelphia. It was the Second Continental Congress, and the present were 56 delegates representing the former 13 colonies. The Declaration of Independence pronounced that the former 13 colonies, which were at war with Great Britain, the time were independent and sovereign, and therefore were no longer part of Great Britain. All the delegates signed the declaration, and their names are grouped by the states. The states have been arranged geographically, starting from South to North. The first name is Button Gwinnett who was a representative into the Continental Congress from Georgia. The last name is Matthew Thornton, a representative from New Hampshire.
The declaration of independence is the hallmark of American democracy, and it contains the goals and ideals of the American citizens. The day is celebrated every year, mostly with parades, fireworks, fairs, concerts, picnics, carnivals, barbecues, and political speeches, among other events. Independence Day is a national holiday in the country. Presently, the original copy of the document is kept at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.