Independence Day: history, facts and events

"U.S. Flag Behind Statue of Liberty" by serfs-up, CC BY-ND 2.0

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – Independence Day marks the day when the 13 colonies declared their independence from England which eventually led to the United States of American being formed.

The Continental Congress was made up of delegates from each of the 13 colonies from North America.  The British government started to tighten their control of the colonies after many years by passing new laws that taxed the colonies and controlled their trade.  The colonies were concerned and felt threatened that the new laws would not allow them to govern themselves.  They felt their rights were not protected as they did not have the right to vote for representatives to speak on their behalf in the British Parliament.  Also, other issues mentioned were not being able to have trial by jury in some states and homes being entered without warrant.

On June 7, 1776, Virginia Delegate, Richard Henry Lee, presented the Continental Congress with a resolution “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

On June 11, 1776, the resolution presented by Lee led to a committee being appointed to formulate the declaration.  The committee consisted of five members of the Continental Congress: John Adams from Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, Robert Livingston from New York and Roger Sherman from Connecticut.

The five members of the committee met to discuss the content of the Declaration.  Of the five members, Thomas Jefferson was given the task of writing the document as he was a very notable writer.

After Thomas Jefferson finished the draft of the Declaration of Independence, it was read before the Continental Congress.  After the reading, Congressional Delegates proceeded to edit the document by adding and removing various things.  The major alteration was the slavery clause.  Some Delegates refused to sign the document if Jefferson left the slavery clause in it.

According to the University of Washington, in the slavery clause, Jefferson states that King George “has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.”

After all revisions were made to the document, the Continental Congress agreed to sign the document.

A few interesting facts about the Declaration of Independence:

  1. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.  He stated that he made his signature so large because he wanted the British Parliament to be able to see it without their spectacles.
  2. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest person to sign the Declaration. He was 70 years old at the time.
  3. The youngest person to sign the Declaration was 27-year-old, Thomas Lynch from South Carolina.
  4. Matthew Thornton, Delegate from New Hampshire, was the last man to sign the document.
  5. Two future presidents signed the Declaration: John Adams, the 2nd President and Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President.
  6. None of the men who signed the Declaration, were born in America.

Here are some other interesting facts about Independence Day:

  1. According to History.com, two of our original founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both died on July 4, 1826 which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
  2. According to the census bureau, 2.5 million people were estimated to live in the original 13 territories when the Declaration was signed. In July of 2018, America had an estimated population of 327 million.
  3. Fortune.com states that Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on fireworks.  By weight, that equals to 268 million pounds of fireworks which equals around one pound of fireworks per American.
  4. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that mainly men burn themselves at high rates due to setting off fireworks.
  5. 99% of fireworks in America are imported from China.
  6. According to Business Insider, Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July every year, which makes it the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.

There are many places around the area that are providing fireworks for Independence Day.  Here are some of the days and places where you can catch fireworks this year:

July 3 

  • Independence Day fireworks – Albion, Ind. – starts at dusk.
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic Patriotic Pops – Parkview Field – starts at dusk.
  • Columbia City Wheeler Mechanical Fireworks Show – Morsches Park – starts at 10 p.m.
  • Defiance Fireworks Celebration – Diehl Park – starts at 11 p.m.
  • Salamonie Summer Fest – Warren, Ind. in Tower Park – starts at dusk.

July 4

  • Angola Fourth of July Fireworks – Commons Park – starts at dusk.
  • Bluffton Concert & Fireworks – Bluffton Harrison Middle School –  – starts at 10 p.m.
  • Fort Wayne 4th of July Fireworks – One Summit Square – starts at 10 p.m.
  • Garrett Heritage Days – Eastside Park – starts at 10 p.m.
  • Kendallville July 4th Festival – Bixler Lake – starts at dusk.
  • Nappanee Fireworks – Stauffer Park – starts at 10:15 p.m.
  • Roanoke July 4th Fireworks – Roanoke Park – starts at dusk.
  • Topeka July 4th Celebration – East Park in – starts at 10 p.m.

July 5th

  • Huntington Fireworks Show – Huntington North High School – starts at dusk.
  • Wabash 4th of July Fireworks – Morrett Sports Complex – starts at dusk.

July 6

  • Pokagon State Park Fireworks – Angola, Ind. – starts at dusk.
  • 4th of July Celebration at Buck Lake Ranch in Angola – starts at dusk.
  • America’s Freedom Fest – Goshen Municipal Airport – starts at dusk.
  • Fun on Sylvan Fireworks – Sylvan Lake Dike in Rome City – starts at dusk.
  • Lake Wawasee Fireworks -Over the lake in Syracuse – starts at dusk.
  • Chapman Lake Fireworks – over the lake in Warsaw – starts at dusk.
  • Freedom Day’s Picnic – Celina, Ohio – starts at 10 p.m.

 

 

 

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