Happy 4th of July, America’s Independence Day. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
In the spring of 1776, support for independence swept the American colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments, and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a declaration. The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president. The first section features the famous lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The second part presents a long list of grievances that provided the rationale for rebellion.
On 2 July 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve a motion calling for separation from Britain. The dramatic words of this resolution were added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence. Two days later, on July 4th, the declaration was formally adopted by 12 colonies after minor revision, and on 2 August, the declaration was signed.
The Revolutionary War wouldlast for five more years. In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.