July 4th marks the 244th anniversary of America's official split from Great Britain's rule and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
It was July 2nd, 1776, when the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. On July 4th, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. It was "taxation without representation" that led to the ultimate congressional adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
Continental Congress President John Hancock is said to have signed his name "with a great flourish" so "King George can read that without spectacles."
The first Independence Day was celebrated a year later in 1777.
Modern day traditions of fireworks, parades and picnics were established as holiday traditions in the early 1800s.
Today, Independence Day is one of only four major U.S. holidays that is celebrated on the same date each year. The others are New Year's Day, Halloween and Christmas.
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