Independence Day! The 4th of July is America’s Birthday.

The 4th of July is a very important holiday in America.  It honors the day, July 4, 1776 that America as a nation was born.

We celebrate that birth with  parades and picnics on the Fourth of July. At night there are often  concerts and fireworks.  It is a very happy and noisy holiday

What happened on July 4th, 1776 ???

Over 200 years ago, there were 13 English colonies in North America.  England and its king, (King George III) owned  the colonies and made the laws that the colonists had to live by.  In 1773, England made many tax laws to collect money from the colonists. The colonists did NOT like these laws and many would not pay the taxes that they did not vote on.

Over time, England sent soldiers to force the colonists to pay the taxes and the colonists grew angrier and angrier. Soon there was fighting and English soldiers killed some Americans.

In 1776, the American colonies had a big meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see if they could repair the problems with England.  They could not and decided to fight for independence from England.  They asked Thomas Jefferson to write the reasons why the colonists wanted to be free and what they wanted in their new nation.  He wrote the Declaration of Independence which has some of the key ideals that America still lives by “…that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….”  .

It was very dangerous to sign this Declaration. If England won the war, the signers would lose everything, even their lives.  But the men representing the 13 colonies did sign the Declaration  on  July 4th, 1776 and declared a war of independence against England.     It  took seven years to win the war, but America did become independent and  a new, wonderful nation was born.

So on this Fourth of July, have a great time and remember to wish America a Happy Birthday / Independence day.

What do YOU wish for America on her birthday?  Write a comment and tell us.

To learn more about the Fourth  click on this El Civics lesson

Here are  song videos that show the great beauty of this country and the spirit of her people.

The first is “America the Beautiful”

The second is “This Land is Your Land” – It has lyrics so sing along with it.

This is another version of the same song but sung by Bruce Springsteen. It’s a bit slower and very peaceful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1L-4tsceVM

(Credits to ESL Teacher’s Holiday Activities kit – Claire  and American Holidays- Klebanow & Fisher)

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