American Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, became a federal holiday in 1870. For those of you who don’t know, the 4th July is when Americans commemorate their independence from the British Empire on the 4th July 1776.
The Declaration of Independence was conceived by a five-man committee, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. This document was the first formal expression by the American people to govern their own country. Following King George III’s actions to crush the rebel uprising, support for independence boomed.
Officially adopted on the 4th of July 1776, it has since encouraged many other countries towards independence.
Becoming a federal holiday in 1870, Independence Day is a day that every patriot American celebrates our independence from the British Empire on the 4th July 1776 with burgers, beers and fireworks. Ever since the ink dried on the Declaration of Independence, this has been a day for family, country and freedom.
Now all of America joins together in 4th of July festivities with good food, fireworks, holiday sales, and for the lucky ones, no work – but it wasn’t always this way. The first state to recognize this day as an official holiday was Massachusetts on July 3, 1781. It wasn’t until June 28, 1870 that Congress decided to start designating federal holidays which included Independence Day as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
No matter where you live it is almost impossible to avoid hearing fireworks – even if just from a distance. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, around 15,000 fireworks displays take place for the Fourth of July holiday every year (even they aren’t exactly on July 4th). Prices vary, but most small towns spend anywhere from $8000-$15,000 on their fireworks display, with larger cities going into the millions, like the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular that averages more than $2 million.
On July 4, 2012, a corrupted computer file made all the San Diego Bay fireworks go off at once…
And while the star-spangled banner flies high and you get out your camera to capture those precious moments with your friends and loved ones, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and show you some vintage images of Americans celebrating this most auspicious of days.