Independence Day is an important part of America’s history. For years, colonists were forced to pay taxes to Great Britain on items such as tea, sugar, paper and other imported goods. At the same time, the colonists were not allowed representation in Parliament. Colonists didn’t think it was fair to pay taxes to a government that did not look out for their needs, and these grievances led to the American Revolutionary War.
The Declaration of Independence is a symbol of liberty in America, written by Thomas Jefferson and other members of the Second Continental Congress. It represents America’s separation from Great Britain. The final version of the Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776.
The first celebration of independence occurred on July 8, 1776, when the document was read aloud in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. Bells rang and a band played to mark the occasion. The next year, July 4 was marked by bells, bonfires and fireworks in the Square. To read a full account of the celebration, visit PBS, pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/history/history-independence-day/.
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