Independence Day (June 4) (2196)

By the middle of the 1700s, the thirteen colonies that made up part of England's empire in the New World were finding it difficult to be ruled by a king 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. They were tired of the taxes imposed upon them. But independence was a gradual and painful process. The USA became independent in the war of independence (1776-1783). It is celebrated by the Americans as a national holiday – Independence Day because on July 4th, 1776 a group of Americans representing 13 former British colonies which stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi signed a document that these colonies had the right to be free and independent. This document is known as the Declaration of Independence. It was written by Thomas Jefferson who was the third president of the USA.

A "tea party" and firing of the British soldiers into the crowd were two events that hurried destiny. These events united the colonists.

Virginia took the first step toward independence by voting to set up a committee to represent the colonies. This First Continental Congress met in September of 1774. They drew up a list of grievances against the crown which became the first draft of a document that would formerly separate the colonies from England. George Washington took command of the Continental Army and began fighting the British in Massachusetts. For the next eight years colonists fought strongly in the Revolutionary War.

Independence Day is celebrated on July 4 because that is the day when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. From July 8, 1776 until the next month, the document was read publicly and people celebrated whenever they heard it. The next year, in Philadelphia, bells rang and ships fired guns; candles and firecrackers were lighted. But the War of Independence went on until 1783 and that year Independence Day was made an official holiday.

Every July fourth, Americans have a holiday from work. Communities have day-long picnics with favourite foods. The afternoon activities would not be complete without lively music, a friendly baseball game, a pie-eating or watermelon-eating contests. Children enjoy participating in three-legged races – foot races, in which one person's left leg is tied to another person's right leg, and they must run on three legs. Some cities have parades with people dressed as the original founding fathers who march in parade to the music of high school bands. At night people in towns and cities gather to watch the fireworks display. Wherever Americans are around the globe, they will get together for a traditional 4th of July celebration.

Check your comprehension.

I. Whom did the British colonists owe allegiance to? 2. Why did they find difficult to be ruled by their King? 3. What do you remember about a "tea party"? 4. What state was the first to declare of independence? 5. When did the First Continental Congress meet? 6. What did the colonists express in their document adopted at the Congress? 7. How long did the Civil War last? 8. Why is June 4 celebrated as Independence Day? 9. How do Americans mark their Independence Day? 10. What are three-legged races?