Happy Fourth of July – Some History

Happy Fourth of July – Some History

The growth of the British Empire in the 19th century, to its territorial peak in the 1920s, saw Britain acquire nearly one quarter of the world’s land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the larger settler colonies – in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – first became self-governing colonies and then achieved independence in all matters except foreign policy.

I wonder how our British friends feel about our continued celebrations?


The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.

By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.

On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.

Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee—including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York—to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence. (cite: History.com)


One could not ask for better weather for the holiday – low humidity and copious amounts of sun for the parties and celebrations around the area.  It sounded like a war zone around here and the poor dog was trying to find a place to hide – he is to big to hide under the furniture.

High pressure will provide fair weather through Wednesday. A cold front may bring showers and thunderstorms on Thursday into Friday.  There is only a 6% chance of rain for today…


Some weather history for this day:

1776 – Thomas Jefferson paid for his first thermometer, and signed the Declaration of Independence. According to his weather memorandum book, at 2 PM it was cloudy and 76 degrees.
1911 – The northeastern U.S. experienced sweltering 100 degree heat. The temperature soared to 105 degrees at Vernon, VT, and North Bridgton ME, and to 106 degrees at Nashua NH, to establish all-time records for those three states. Afternoon highs of 104 at Boston, MA, 104 at Albany, NY, and 103 at Portland, ME, were all-time records for those three cities.
1956 – A world record for the most rain in one minute was set at Unionville, MD, with a downpour of 1.23 inches.
1987 – Thunderstorms around the country provided extra fireworks for Independence Day. Thunderstorms produced wind gusts to 82 mph at Clearwater, KS, eight inches of rain in four hours at Menno SD, and three inches of rain in just fifteen minutes at Austin, KY. Morning thunderstorms drenched Oneonta AL with 8.6 inches of rain, their greatest 24 hour total in thirty years of records. The heavy rain caused mudslides and serious flooding, claiming two lives.
1988 – Thunderstorms produced heavy rain over the Central Gulf Coast Region for the second day in a row. Monroe, LA, was deluged with 3.75 inches in two hours. Aberdeen and Rapid City, SD, reported record high temperatures for the date, with readings of 105 degrees.
1989 – Independence Day was hot as a firecracker across parts of the country. Nineteen cities, mostly in the north central U.S., reported record high temperatures for the date, including Williston ND with a reading of 107 degrees. In the southwestern U.S., highs of 93 at Alamosa, CO, 114 at Tucson, AZ, and 118 at Phoenix, AZ, equaled all-time records for those locations.

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4 on "Happy Fourth of July – Some History"

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GunLakeDeb
What beautiful weather! The only problem with that is that we’ll have continual fireworks until the tent vendors finally pack up in a few weeks 🙁 In spite of our laws to the contrary, it seems that some people feel that being on a lake gives them a God-given right… Read more »
SlimJim

It was the same here. It sounded like we were in a “war zone” not sure what time it stopped but it was late.
SlimJim

Sandy (Hudsonville)

Same here too! We had a large one go off at 3AM that shook our place. My little dog who is now 11 yrs old is very afraid of fireworks. 🙁

Mark (East Lansing)

Happy Birthday, America!

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