The History of Independence Day in the U.S.

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Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is celebrated in the United States to commemorate the Declaration of Independence and freedom from the British Empire. Although the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain on July 2, it wasn’t until July 4 that revisions of the declaration were completed. Most delegates didn’t sign the document until August 2.

Since then, Americans have celebrated the Fourth of July in many ways, although it wasn’t until 1870 that it was declared a holiday. From fireworks to parades, this is how — and why — Americans celebrate the Fourth of July