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Fourth of July 2019: What is the history behind America’s biggest national holiday?

Fourth of July 2019: What is the history behind America’s biggest national holiday?Americans celebrate the Fourth of July every year, with 2019 marking the 243rd anniversary of the founding of the United States.An occasion for parties, barbecues, fireworks and, under Donald Trump, tank displays and Air Force flyovers, this is the most significant national holiday in the American calendar, an unabashed expression of patriotic pride.For the unitiated, here’s everything you need to know. What is it?The occasion honours the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Founding Fathers on 4 July 1776.In putting quill to parchment, these 56 statesmen – Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin among them – renounced the British Empire and pronounced the North American colonies free states.A modern superpower was born. What’s the story behind it?The British Empire had built a commanding presence in the New World since Sir Walter Raleigh led the first attempts to establish settlements on the east coast in the late Elizabethan era.By the 18th century, North America was governed from London and comprised of the Thirteen Colonies, consisting of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations.Primarily agricultural lands, the Thirteen Colonies were exploited by their imperial rulers for their resources, particularly the territories’ lucrative tobacco crops. While relations between settlers and the Crown were initially amicable, tensions began to escalate under King George III over opposition to the imposition of British laws and taxes, notably the Stamp Act. A growing spirit of nationalism swelled among the native-born. By 1765, Americans began to demand an end to “taxation without representation”, calling for their voices to be heard in the Houses of Parliament.Acts of dissent followed, notably the Boston Tea Party in 1773. A protest against the Tea Act, which gave the East India Company a monopoly, the incident saw a group known as the Sons of Liberty dressed as Native Americans dump an entire shipment of imported British tea leaves into the city’s harbour.The demonstration was both a gleeful satire of the ruling power’s obsession with its national beverage and a call to arms against the decadence and entitlement of empire.Further ill-feeling was fostered by the Coercive Acts, known as the “Intolerable Acts” among American Patriots, which retracted Massachusetts’ semi-independence as punishment for the Tea Party humiliation.Two Continental Congresses were staged bringing together delegates from the Thirteen Colonies to coordinate the resistance. At the second meeting in Philadelphia in 1775, the Declaration of Independence was signed and the American War of Independence declared, with open combat erupting in Concord, Massachusetts, that April. The conflict would rage for eight years, until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.The declaration was drafted by the Committee of Five – Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston – and established citizens’ “unalienable” rights, observing that “all men are created equal” and enshrining the individual’s entitlement to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.The draft was submitted to Congress on 28 June 1776, voted into law on 2 July and formally ratified on 4 July, a date that has been celebrated by patriotic Americans ever since. It was first published in The Pennsylvania Evening Post two days later. How has it been celebrated through history? The first readings of the Declaration were made in Philadelphia squares and met with bonfires and the ringing of bells.In Bristol, Rhode Island, a salute of 13 gunshots in the morning and evening marked the day in 1777, the country’s first formal 4 July celebration and a point of pride in the town to this day, which has held an annual parade since 1785. In 1778, George Washington, then a general in the revolutionary army, issued his troops with a double rum ration to cheer the day. The first recorded music commemorating independence was the “Psalm of Joy”, written by Johann Friedrich Peter in Salem, North Carolina, in 1783. Congress made the day an unpaid national holiday for federal workers in 1870 but it has been a paid vacation since 1938. How do people celebrate it today?All major cities hail 4 July with spectacular fireworks displays, the White House giving its own.The occasion is otherwise marked in towns across America with picnics, baseball games, marches, brass brands playing John Philip Sousa and performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.As a national holiday, it also serves as an occasion for family reunions and vacations.



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Tanks, flag burning and the Trump baby balloon: What we know about the July Fourth parade

Tanks, flag burning and the Trump baby balloon: What we know about the July Fourth paradePresident Donald Trump will take center stage at Fourth of July festivities in Washington D.C. on Thursday that will also feature Army tanks and military flyovers.



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Trump officials 'fear embarrassingly tiny crowd' for his Fourth of July speech

Trump officials 'fear embarrassingly tiny crowd' for his Fourth of July speechDonald Trump‘s aides fear an embarrassingly small crowd may turn out for his tradition-shattering Fourth of July address in Washington DC, according to a report.The White House has been trying to ensure a high number of attendees in the face of potentially poor weather and a free concert at the far end of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Post reported.Crowd size has been a sore point for Mr Trump, who has repeatedly claimed in the face of the evidence that attendance at his inauguration was the highest ever.The president is set to speak in front of a ticket-only crowd of Republican donors, administration and campaign officials, family members and those who gather to either hear him or protest his policies.It has been nearly seven decades since a president spoke on the Mall on independence day. The Korean War was taking place when Harry Truman addressed a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.Mr Trump is expected to be flanked by military vehicles amid a huge mobilisation and plans for fly-pasts by fighter jets and a stealth bomber.He dismissed complaints at the probable high cost of the extravaganza in a tweet on Wednesday.“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!” he said.The cost of flying a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber for one hour is $ 122,311 (£96,500), according to the US Air Force.



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Trump news – live: President pleads with people to attend his July the Fourth celebration amid fears of small crowds and tank damage

Trump news – live: President pleads with people to attend his July the Fourth celebration amid fears of small crowds and tank damageDonald Trump’s “Salute to America” is set to take place in Washington, DC, on Thursday as the country celebrates Independence Day, with the grand military spectacle threatened by fears of a low turnout and concerns that the heavy tanks on display could damage the Lincoln Memorial.A new Morning Consult poll has meanwhile revealed the president to be losing support in key states he won in 2016, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Ohio and Florida, as his Republican opponent Justin Amash announces his resignation from the GOP in opposition to Mr Trump's "dehumanising rhetoric".Undeterred, the president has been on angry form on Twitter, hitting out at migrants over reports of squalid conditions in US border detention centres and warning Iran against making threats by issuing one of his own: “They can come back to bite you.”Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load



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Trump facing criticism for July Fourth celebration as tanks arrive on National Mall

Trump facing criticism for July Fourth celebration as tanks arrive on National MallArmored vehicles, bombers and military jets will be featured at the 'Salute to America' event in Washington, D.C.; Ellison Barber reports on the preparations and reaction.



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Tanks in Washington ahead of Trump's Fourth of July pageant

Tanks in Washington ahead of Trump's Fourth of July pageantBattle tanks were seen on a train in Washington on Tuesday ahead of a July Fourth celebration highlighting U.S. military might that Democrats say President Donald Trump may turn into a re-election campaign rally. Amid questions about the cost and tone of the event, White House officials said the Republican president will avoid politics and stick to patriotic themes in his speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Thursday. Reuters photographed M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles atop flat rail cars in Washington on Tuesday morning, a sign of the military firepower that will be featured, differing significantly from past annual celebrations of the 1776 Declaration of Independence.



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Every Recipes You Need For The Best Fourth Of July Menu Ever

Every Recipes You Need For The Best Fourth Of July Menu Ever



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How the trade war with China could ruin your Fourth of July

How the trade war with China could ruin your Fourth of JulyPresident Donald Trump's trade war with China may raise fireworks prices, hitting Fourth of July displays, jobs and businesses next Independence Day.



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Cain's Fed chances in peril as fourth Republican opposes Trump pick

Cain's Fed chances in peril as fourth Republican opposes Trump pick“If I had to vote today, I would vote no,” Senator Kevin Cramer said in a statement. If all of the Senate’s Democrats and the two independents aligned with them were to vote against Cain, he would fall short of the majority support he needs. Cain could not be reached for comment.



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French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth month

French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth monthRioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday, in a new flare-up of violence as France’s yellow vest protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms entered a fourth month. Police fired tear gas and water cannon as the protests turned violent after weeks of relative calm, during which marches had attracted declining numbers of participants. Rioters also set fire to an upmarket handbag store and two newsstands on the Champs Elysees, while scattered bonfires burned on the thoroughfare.



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