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CE Today: July 8 — The U.S.A. First Celebrates Its Independence

Modern U.S. citizens know July 4 as Independence Day. The recent holiday is celebrated as the day the 13 original colonies officially declared themselves a new nation.

declaration_of_independence

Image source: http://www.archives.gov/

What current citizens may not know is that independence was actually declared on July 2, at a meeting of the Continental Congress. July 4 is celebrated because it is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted. The nature of communication in 1776 caused some delay getting the word out, which resulted in confusion about the order of events.

So, how is July 8 significant? After its adoption, the declaration had to be printed, then sent out for public readings. The signing likely did not end until October or November, but it seems relatively certain that the first independence celebration took place on this day, July 8, in 1776.

The Liberty Bell, widely believed to have been rung in celebration until it cracked on July 4, was actually rung on July 8 to announce public readings of the declaration.

Sources

Time.com: The Top 5 Myths About the Fourth of July
National Geographic: 9 Fourth of July Myths Debunked
History.com: The Liberty Bell Rings