The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a national holiday and a time of celebration. It is also time for reflection and remembrance of the struggles of the thirteen British colonies that led to the approval of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The path to independence by the colonies began years before the Declaration was written and approved. Years of measures that were regarded as unfair and restrictive against the colonies had been imposed by the British Parliament. When the Second Continental Congress convened at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May, 1775, the American Revolution had already begun. Most of the colonies hoped to preserve their ties with the British Empire, but in the following months the British policy grew harsher. By the spring of 1776 more and more Americans came to believe that severing all ties with Great Britain was the wisest course of action. In June, 1776, a resolution by Richard Henry Lee to the delegates of the Second Continental Congress proposed independence for the colonies. Shortly afterward, Congress named Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston as a committee to prepare a document explaining the reasons for declaring independence. Thomas Jefferson prepared the first draft. On July 2, 1776, Congress approved Lee’s resolution, voting for independence for the colonies. After some edits and changes, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776. The Fourth of July became a national holiday in 1870.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution