July 4: Independence Day

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring the thirteen colonies a new nation, no longer a part of the British Empire. The Declaration followed the vote for a resolution of independence two days earlier.

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Listen to the Declaration of Independence on Lit2Go

In the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson outlines the despot-like behavior of the King of Great Britain and declares that the United States of America will no longer recognize British rule. Lit2Go Duration: 10 minutes, 20 seconds.

PDF of the Declaration of Independence

Five-page PDF of the Declaration of Independence. Reading level: 12.0. Word count: 1,340.

Indepenence Hall

Indepenence Hall, Philidelphia, where the Declaration of Indepence was signed. Illustrationsfrom the ClipArt ETC website.

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Interior of Independence Hall

The interior of Independence Hall in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Table and Chair

The table and chair used at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Commemorative Medal

A medal with a depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Committee of Five Relief Sculpture

Pediment sculpture from the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. The committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Roger Livingston. Photo from the ClipPix ETC website.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was the primary author among the five contributors. He was a representative of Virginia at the time and later became the third President of the United States. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

John Adams

John Adams was a representative from Massachusetts and later became the second President of the United States. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin was a representative of Pennsylvania and became the first US minister to France. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

John Hancock

John Hancock was President of the Second Continental Congress at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. His large signature on the document is so well known that “John Hancock” has become a synonym for signature. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell rang from the steeple of Independence Hall to alert the public to proclamations. As such, it probably was not rung on July 4, but may have been rung on July 8 for the public reading of the Declaration. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Accessions to Independence Map

Map showing when each of the 13 colonies instructed their representatives to vote for independence. Map for the Maps ETC website.

Principal Battles of the War of Independence

Map showing the principal battles of the Revolutionary War. Map from the Maps ETC website.