The Fourth of July is the day that the American Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in 1776. The Declaration was written by a “Committee of Five,” which included Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Why do most people only credit Jefferson? He was in fact “the principle author.” The other four members of the committee asked him to write the first draft, and during the two weeks that he wrote the document, they suggested minor changes.
Later, Congress made more major changes when they eliminated a passage that criticized the British people and another passage that was a “scathing denunciation” of the slave trade.
|The Fourth being celebrated|
in Philadelphia in 1819.
The Declaration famously includes the words, “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." I recently went to Seneca Falls National Historical Park and viewed the Seneca Falls Declaration, dated 1848: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.” I also saw the construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial in Washington, D.C.; King said as part of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech (1963), “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”
People celebrate the Fourth with fireworks , parades, and barbecues.