Independece Day – History, Recipes and Crafty Fun!

History of Independence Day

Many people consider July 4th as the birth date of America, and rightfully so. It was on this date in 1776 that the Continental Congress approved and adopted the Declaration of Independence. It can actually be considered the country’s birth certificate. At this time the spirit of freedom, so much a part of this country’s history, was born.

Prior to the birth of our nation, the colonists led other uprisings against the British for one reason or another. Most often, however, the colonist’s complaints revolved around unfair taxes. In fact, as early as 1676, Nathaniel Bacon wrote a “Declaration of the People” to decry the taxes and failure of the British to protect farmers along the western edge of the colonies. Bacon also led rebellions against the British.

From the beginning of colonial times, the British required American colonists to pay taxes on items imported from Great Britain. These items included sugar, coffee, and wine. The colonists, however, were not given voting privileges in Parliament. After years of being taxed on all goods, the Americans began boycotting British goods. British troops were sent to enforce the Townshend Act.

Of course, the colonists rejected King George and Parliament’s right to enforce this Act saying that it was a violation of their constitutional rights as British subjects. Petitions were sent to King George asking him to repeal the Townshend Act. This was quickly denied.

Boston’s civilians clashed with British soldiers on a regular basis. Skirmishes began to draw larger crowds which finally led to the death of Crispus Attucks, and four others at the Boston Massacre in March 1770. This was the final straw and is thought to be the incident that cemented the resolve of the colonists to rid themselves from British tyranny during the American Revolution.

Colonists continued to rebel against the taxes, but the British continued to levy taxes. By 1773, the American colonists had had enough. They refused to pay tax any longer on tea. In the middle of the night on December 16, a group of men boarded three ships in the harbor and dumped the contents of the ships into the water.  This was the true beginning of the Revolutionary War. Before it was over, the population of the colonies – men and women, black and white – would join together to fight for freedom.

Suffice it to say, the colonists defeated the British and won their freedom. Now families all over the country celebrate this wonderful day. Depending upon which day of the week the fourth falls on, the celebrations may last longer than one day.

When Did 4th of July Start?

Our Founding Fathers, as they’ve come to be known, knew the importance of their actions in Philadelphia. They knew they were laying the foundation for a new country, a free country, a country different from all others in the world. They may not have known, however, that the date of July 4 would be so important to the citizens of this country.

Some researchers believe that the concept of celebrating the birth of the nation and marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was an afterthought. The original approval to separate from Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by all but one colony two days later. John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration, and did so in large letters, purportedly so King George could read it.

Upon agreeing to separate from Britain, John Adams, Founding Father, member of the Continental Congress, and future second President of the United States of America, wrote to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Reports claim that members of the Continental Congress did not discuss the idea of celebrating the anniversary of accepting the Declaration of Independence until July 3 which made it too late to celebrate on the actual date the approval was given. Instead, they celebrated on July 4, 1776 and that is the date that has been celebrated as the birth of America ever since.

In 1781, the Massachusetts legislature was the first to recognize the Fourth of July as an actual holiday.  Two years later, Johann Friedrich Peter performed his work “The Psalm of Joy” on July 4th in Salem, North Carolina as the first celebration of the holiday.

Ten years after the first July 4 celebration, cities commemorating the day would shoot canons or ring bells early in the morning. Parades were commonplace as those who had fought in the Militia would march. Citizens and other military volunteers would join the parade. Bonfires and fireworks were also a part of the early celebrations.

In 1791, the holiday was first called “Independence Day.” By 1870, the U.S. Congress named Independence Day an unpaid holiday for all federal employees. It wasn’t until 1941, however, that Congress finally declared July 4th as a federal holiday to be celebrated by those around the country. Of all the holidays celebrated in the United States, the Fourth of July, or Independence Day as it may be called, is undoubtedly one of the most important holidays we celebrate.

4th of July Recipes:

4th of July Turkey Chili

1 can (14.5oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ cup white wine
1.5 pounds ground turkey (you can also use ground beef if you prefer)
1 package (1.25oz) chili seasoning mix
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup bottled steak sauce
5 slices bacon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, drained
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, onion, celery, pepper flakes, peppers, steak sauce and wine in a large heavy pot and simmer over low heat.

In a separately large frying pan cook the bacon slices until crisp and put on paper towels to drain. Cook the ground turkey in the bacon drippings until browned. Then drain. Stir the chili seasoning into the ground turkey.

Add the turkey to the tomato mixture and add the cumin and bacon. Keep simmering until the vegetables are tender. Then stir in beans, cilantro and parsley. Heat through and season well.

Serve immediately with grated cheese and corn muffins below.

4th of July Corn Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)
1 can (14.5oz) creamed corn
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450F and heat up a 12-cup muffin tin in the hot oven while making the muffin mix.

In a medium saucepan, heat the creamed corn and then stir in 1 cup of the cornmeal. The mixture should be very thick and stiff. Whisk in the buttermilk, then add the eggs. Again, whisk thoroughly, then add the melted butter.

In a medium bowl, mix the remaining cornmeal with the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir carefully until just combined.

Take the muffin tin out of the oven and either use muffin cases or lightly grease the tin. Fill the muffin mix evenly into the muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove muffins and place on a wire rack to cool.

Serve with any soup or a the yummy 4th of July chili recipe we included.

Mommy and Me 4th of July Crafts

4th of July Fireworks Craft Option 1

What you need:

  • Black or other dark construction paper
  • Glitter
  • A straw, toothpicks, or paintbrushes
  • White glue
  • Old newspapers

Spread out the newspaper to work on. Place a small amount of glue on the construction paper. Geometric shapes can be made on the paper by blowing gently through the straw on the glue. Your child can also use toothpicks or paintbrushes to create designs on the paper.

Once all of your glue has been blown into shapes, sprinkle some glitter over the top of the glue. Carefully pick up the piece of construction paper and gently slide the excess glitter back into the bottle.

If you want to, you can repeat the glue and glitter process with different colors. Let the glue dry between colors.

4th of July Fireworks Craft Option 2

What you need:

  • Smocks to cover the kids’ clothes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Washable acrylic paint
  • Black craft paper
  • Sponge
  • Flowers (dandelions or mums work best)

Start by getting all your materials together. Put a smock on each child making this craft with you.

Let the kids choose the colors of paint they want to use for their project. Using a folded piece of the aluminum foil, create a color palette for each child with the colors they chose. The best colors to show up on dark paper are gold, silver, red, blue or green. If possible, try to get the metallic paints.

Give each child a piece of sponge or a flower for each color of paint, showing them how to ‘load’ it with the paint. Dandelions and mums work best because of the many crevices they have.

Show the children how to gently dab their dark paper with their sponge to make imitation fireworks. By dabbing the paper gently and quickly, your children will be able to achieve fantastic looking fireworks to fill the “night sky” without having to leave the house.

These two fireworks art projects are sure to please your children. Make sure to share your children’s masterpieces with everyone after the paint dries. Let them sign their artwork before giving it away, including the date. Take any 4th of July fireworks pictures that remain and use them to celebrate the holiday at any time of the year.

Have a wonderful 4th of July!


Leave a Comment