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History of Independece Day

Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This document, signed by the Continental Congress, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, asserted the independence of the 13 colonies, from the mother country of England. The Continental Congress, formed in 1774, consisted of delegates from each of the thirteen colonies and was formed as a result of unrest in the colonies concerning the taxes required to be paid to England though the colonies had no representation there. One incident that contributed to the unrest was the levying of tax on tea sold in the colonies in 1767. Led by Samuel Adams, Bostonians dressed as Indians and dumped tea from a ship into the Massachusetts Bay. This act is remembered as the “Boston Tea Party.” The colonists began stoning British soldiers who fired into the crowd. Some of the citizens were killed and this incident was referred to as a “massacre.”

As the unrest grew England's King George III sent extra troops to the colonies to better control the citizens. In April 1775 English troops advanced on Concord Massachusetts. Paul Revere rode through the town shouting, "The British are coming, the British are coming.” The battle of Concord marked the beginning of the colonies war for Independence. The congress tried to work out its differences with England but when nothing was resolved by June of 1776, the congress, headed by Thomas Jefferson, met to write and sign the declaration. John Hancock was the first to sign the document. At the first public reading of the Declaration in Independence Square in Philadelphia, the people cheered, the church bells rang, and the bell in Independence Hall rang. This bell was later inscribed with the words, Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof and was named the “Liberty Bell.” The first Independence Day celebration was held in 1777.

Sun, 05 Jul 2009 16:56:41 +0000

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