July 7, 2014

Why America celebrates on July 4th

By Annette Tait

If technology had been available to the authors and signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July might appear to be just another convenient federal choice of days to celebrate a national milestone. After all, the first draft was written by the Committee of Five -- mostly by member Thomas Jefferson -- in June 1776, the Continental Congress declared independence July 2, 1776, the document itself was signed August 2, 1776, and the Declaration wasn’t delivered to Great Britain until November 1776.
Even taking into account the standards of the day – documents written by hand, travel on horseback or with horse and buggy, and no immediate means to communicate over distances, let alone use overnight courier service – still doesn’t explain why Independence Day is celebrated on a date seemingly unrelated to the milestones in its evolutionary process. But, unlike the current trend to schedule holidays in the most convenient and productive manner, there is a logical explanation why the Continental Congress adopted a seemingly unrelated date for such an important national observance.

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