On July 4, we are having a party, a birthday party for America!
The birthday of the United States of America is known as Independence Day or the Fourth of July.
Everybody has a birthday, even countries. But do you know how a country is born? For our country, the birth was on July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This meant that the colonies were separating from Great Britain and becoming an independent country.
But the birth of our country started way before that. In 1750, there were 13 small colonies in America. Each colony was separate, but the King of England ruled them all. The colonies had to send money to England to pay taxes. All of the laws and rules were also made in Great Britain, and there was no representation or input from the people of the American colonies.
The people of the colonies began to believe that they should be independent and not ruled by a king who lived across the ocean. They wanted to be free to choose the kind of government they wanted. The king refused to give up the American colonies and sent ships filled with soldiers to America. The colonies realized that in order to fight the king and his army, they would need to unite. Each colony chose men to go to Philadelphia and meet. This was called the First Continental Congress. They drafted a letter to the king and asked him to change unfair laws and to send his soldiers back to England. Instead, the king sent more soldiers to America, and the Revolutionary War began. The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. The war for independence was not an easy war. Even after the Declaration of Independence, the war continued. It lasted eight years.
Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. In the declaration, Jefferson expressed the feelings of the American people. It explained the ideals of individual liberty through "self-evident truths," proclaiming that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain rights unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The document also explained that governments are created to help ensure these rights. The Declaration listed how the government of Great Britain was infringing on the rights of the people and justified the separation of the colonies from Great Britain.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Even though it took a few more years to win our freedom, the ringing of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia signaled that a new nation had been born. Happy Birthday, America!