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by Terrie Evans
On this last weekend in June we look forward to the 244th Independence Day of the United States of America on Saturday, July 4th, 2020. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States that commemorates the formal Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. Before the signing, our Congress declared that the 13 American Colonies were no longer ruled by Britain or its Monarch, King George III. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence and they were now united, free and independent states, becoming a formal declaration on July 4th, the actual date shown on the Declaration of Independence. The resolution was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to declare the United States independent from Great Britain’s as there were conflicts with the British Government over taxes and rights. The 13 Colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia) had a high degree of self- governing with active local elections that made them resist London’s demands for more control.
Within the years from 1625-1775, the colonial population grew from 2,000 to 2.4 million. The British found themselves with large debts and decided to increase the tax base with the Sugar and Currency Acts of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, and the Townshend Act of 1767. There soon was much discontentment concerning British Rule and in 1774, colonists elected delegates to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in September. At the convention, delegates penned a draft to explain this proposal and the decision, while a Committee of Five prepared a statement with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author.
One of the signers, John Adams wrote to his wife Abagail: “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America, I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”.
Two signers of the Declaration of Independence , Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both served as Presidents of the United States and died on the same day on July 4, 1826 which was also the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe, although not a signer, but a Founding Father of our great country who became President also died on the 4th of July in 1831. Our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge was actually born on July 4, 1872.
Many will celebrate this 244th July 4th with family picnics and parades all while proudly flying the American Flag as we remember those 13 original colonies and the sacrifices those colonists endured to make our country the greatest place on earth to live! Happy 4th of July weekend!