Independence Day! Resources
For parents, teachers, and those who just
History Behind The Celebration
ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and
proclaim liberty throughout the land unto
all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be
a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return
unto his possession, and ye shall return
every man unto his family."
Day , in the U.S., an annual holiday
commemorating the formal adoption
by the Continental
Congress of the Declaration
of Independence on July 4,
signing of the Declaration was not
completed until August,
the Fourth of July holiday has been
accepted as the official anniversary of
independence and is celebrated in all
states and territories of the U.S. The
holiday was first
observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776,
at which time the Declaration of
read aloud, city bells rang, and bands
played. It was not declared a legal
holiday , however, until
1941. The Fourth is traditionally
celebrated publicly with parades and
pageants, patriotic speeches,and organized
firing of guns and cannons and displays
of fireworks; early in
the 20th century public concern for a
safe and sane holiday resulted in
on general use of fireworks. Family
picnics and outings are a feature of
private Fourth of July celebrations.
Day Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.
1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation.
All rights reserved.
freedom did Christ set us free stand fast
therefore and be not
entangled again in a yoke of bondage."
does your family celebrate Independence
family lives in Charleston, South
is located in the
south-eastern part of the United States
on the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston was
founded in 1670
at Albemarle Point on the western bank of
the Ashley River and named Charles Town
in honor of Charles II , king of England. The
settlement was moved to its present
peninsular site in
1680. During the American
Revolution , it
repulsed two British naval attacks 1776
and 1779 but was captured in 1780 and
occupied until 1782. In 1783 it was
incorporated as a city and
its name was shortened to Charleston. (Microsoft
hold these truths to be self evident,
that all men are created equal."
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Fireworks, incendiary devices
or materials used for signaling or entertainment, and
sometimes known as pyrotechnics. The term pyrotechnics
also connotes the skills involved in the making and
employment of such illuminative materials. Fireworks
include substances or devices that produce, when ignited
or activated, sound, smoke, motion, or a combination of
these; thus military flare and smoke devices are also
considered fireworks. Microsoft Encarta 98
Encyclopedia. 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights
Would you like to see fireworks?
Over Washington DC?
Story of America's Birthday!"
At the time of the
signing the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of
England's King George III. There was growing
unrest in the colonies concerning the taxes that
had to be paid to England. This was commonly
referred to as "Taxation without
Representation" as the colonists did not
have any representation in the English Parliament
and had no say in what went on. As the unrest
grew in the colonies, King George sent extra
troops to help control any rebellion. In 1774 the
13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia
Pennsylvania to form the First Continental
Congress. The delegates were unhappy with
England, but were not yet ready to declare war.
In April 1775 as the
King's troops advanced on Concord Massachusetts Paul Revere would sound the alarm
that "The British are coming, the British
are coming" as he rode his horse through the
late night streets. The battle of Concord and it's "shot
heard round the world" would mark the
unofficial beginning of the colonies war for
The following May the
colonies again sent delegates to the Second
Continental Congress. For almost a year the
congress tried to work out it's differences with
England, again without formally declaring war.
By June 1776 their
efforts had become hopeless and a committee was
formed to compose a formal declaration of
independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the
committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston
and Roger Sherman. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to
write the first draft which was presented to the
congress on June 28. After various changes a vote
was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of
the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the
Declaration, 2 - Pennsylvania and South Carolina
voted No, Delaware undecided and New York abstained.
To make it official John Hancock, President of the
Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of
Independence. It is said that John Hancock's
signed his name "with a great flourish"
so "King George can read that without
The following day
copies of the Declaration were distributed. The
first newspaper to print the Declaration was the
Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776. On
July 8th the Declaration had it's first public
reading in Philadelphia's Independence Square.
Twice that day the Declaration was read to
cheering crowds and pealing church bells. Even
the bell in Independence Hall was rung. The "Province
Bell" would later be renamed "Liberty Bell"
Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants
And although the
signing of the Declaration was not completed
until August, the 4th of July has been accepted
as the official anniversary of United States
independence. The first Independence Day
celebration took place the following year - July
4 1777. By the early 1800s the traditions of
parades, picnics, and fireworks were established
as the way to celebrate America's birthday. And
although fireworks have been banned in most
places because of their danger, most towns and
cities usually have big firework displays for all
to see and enjoy.
Independence on the Net)
Signers of the
Declaration of Independence
from the state of South Carolina:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States.
It was within its walls
that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was here
that the Constitution of the
United States was debated, drafted and signed.
chime that changed the world occurred on July 8, 1776, when the
Liberty Bell rang out from
the tower of Independence Hall summoning citizens to hear the
first public reading of
Independence by the Declaration of Colonel John Nixon.
Marching Tour of the American
Uncle Sam, nickname and cartoon image
used to personify the U.S. government. It is derived from
the initials U.S. and was first popularized on supply
containers during the War of 1812. The first visual
representation or caricature of an Uncle Sam figure,
attired in stars and stripes, appeared in political
cartoons in 1832. The character came to be seen as a
shrewd Yankee, possibly after the character Brother
Jonathan in the play The Contrast 1787 by Royall Tyler.
In the 20th century Uncle Sam has usually been depicted
with a short beard, high hat, and tailed coat. In 1961
the U.S. Congress adopted the figure as a national symbol.
I pledge allegiance to the
flag of the United States of America, and to the
Republic for which it stands. One nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Do you know the story of
sewed the first American flag. When we view
the flag, we think of liberty, freedom,
pride, and Betsy Ross. The American flag
flies on the moon, sits atop Mount Everest, is hurtling out
in space. The flag is how America signs her
Visit the home of Betsy
tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky. Oliver Wendell Holmes in "Old Ironsides"
What do the red, white,
and blue of the flag represent?
The Continental Congress left
no record to show why it chose the colors. However, in
1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same
colors for the Great Seal of the United States and listed
their meaning as follows: white to
mean purity and innocence, red for valor and
and blue for vigilance,
perseverance, and justice. According to legend,
George Washington interpreted the elements of the flag
this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from
the British colors, and the white stripes signified the
secession from the home country. However, there is no
official designation or meaning for the colors of the
flag. (Betsy Ross Homepage)
Scott Key, American lawyer and poet,
who wrote the lyrics for The
the United States national anthem. He was born in
Frederick County (now Carroll County), Maryland, and
practiced law in Maryland and in the District of Columbia. During the War of 1812 Key
witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in
Baltimore Harbor. The sight of the American flag still
flying over the fort at daybreak inspired him to write
the poem The Star-Spangled Banner, which he set to the
tune of an English drinking song, To Anacreon in Heaven.
The Star-Spangled Banner became the official United
States national anthem in 1931. Key also wrote The Power
of Literature and Its Connection with Religion1834 and
Poems (posthumously published, 1857).Key,
Francis Scott, Microsoft\Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Why are the stars in a circle?
The stars were in a circle so
that no one colony would be viewed above another. It is
reported that George Washington said, "Let the 13
stars in a circle stand as a new constellation in the
heavens." (Betsy Ross Homepage)
Why is the flag called
In 1831, Captain Stephen
Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts, left on one of his many
world voyages. Friends presented him with a flag of 24
stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze, he
exclaimed, "Old Glory." He kept his flag for
many years, protecting it during the Civil War, until it
was flown over the Tennessee capital. His "Old Glory"
became a nickname for all American flags. (Betsy Ross
Pennsylvania is the largest city of Pennsylvania
and the fifth largest city in the United States.
Philadelphia is located in the southeastern
corner of the state, at the junction of the Delaware River and Schuylkill River.
Philadelphia is about 100 miles from the Atlantic Oceanand is located about
halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C..
Because of the
prevailing westerly winds that sweep weather
systems eastward from the interior of
the continent, the Atlantic Ocean has a
relatively small effect on Pennsylvania climate.
The state has climates that are generally known
as humid continental. There are distinct seasonal
variations and an abundance of rainfall.
Pennsylvania, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The Delaware river is
one of the major rivers of the eastern United
States. In 1776, George Washington led his troops across
the Delaware to defeat German mercenaries allied
British in the Battle of Trenton.
In 1861, the land was
granted by Charles II of England to William Penn. In 1683, the city
became the capital of the newly created colony of
Pennsylvania. Philadelphia played a big role in
the events leading to the American Revolution. (1775-1783)
. The Continental Congress met in Philadelphia
from 1774 to 1776 and the Declaration of
Independence was signed there in 1776.
Map of Philadelphia in
Benjamin Franklin was a statesman and
diplomat for the newly formed United States, as
as a prolific author and inventor. Franklin
helped draft, and then signed, the Declaration of
Independence in 1776, and he was a delegate to
the Constitutional Convention in 1787. As a civic
leader, he initiated a number of new programs in
Philadelphia, including a fire company, fire
insurance, a library, and a university. (Microsoft
Pocono Mountains: At lower elevations
Pennsylvania contains hardwood forests typical of
the southeastern part of the United States, while
at higher elevations trees common to northern
forests predominate. Together the forests cover
about three-fifths of the state land area. Here,
forests spread across the Pocono Mountains near the New Jersey
border. Pocono Mtns. Vacation Bureau, Inc. Pocono
Mountains," Microsoft Encarta 98
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Location: Liberty Bell
Pavilion, Market Street between 5th & 6th,
Bell, historic bell in Independence National Historical Park in
Philadelphia, rung on July 8, 1776, after the first public reading of
the Declaration of Independence . The bell weighs 943.5 kg (2080
lb) and is 3.7 m (12 ft) in circumference at the lip. The bell
bears the following inscription: Proclaim Liberty Throughout All
the Land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof. Leviticus XXV:X. The
bell was ordered in 1751 and was cast in London. It arrived in
Philadelphia in August 1752 and was cracked while being tested.
It was melted down, and a second bell was cast in April 1753, but
this one was also defective. A third was cast in June of that
year, by the firm of Pass and Stowe in Philadelphia. On June 7,
1753, the third bell was hung in the tower of Independence Hall.
In 1777, during the American Revolution , British troops occupied
Philadelphia. The bell was removed from the tower and taken to
Allentown, Pennsylvania, for safekeeping. It was returned to
Philadelphia and replaced in Independence Hall in 1778.
Thereafter, the bell was rung on every July 4 and on every state
occasion until 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as
it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.
The bell was moved to its present location in a glass pavilion
near Independence Hall in 1976.Liberty Bell,
Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997 Microsoft
Corporation. All rights reserved