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How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to Independence Day-sports

How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to Independence Day

How is the day celebrated in the US?

In what was a simple but powerful mark of respect to each of the colonies, 13 gunshots were fired as part of the first celebration of independence on July 4 1777, a year after the Declaration of Independence was approved.

George Washington commemorated the Fourth of July the following year in 1778 by ordering a double ration of rum for his soldiers at Ross Hall, near New Jersey. Meanwhile outside the US, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams organised a celebratory dinner for Americans in Paris.

The Fourth of July was officially acknowledged as a state celebration by the Massachusetts General Court in 1781, and Moravians in North Carolina, observed the day with The Psalm of Joy music programme in 1783.

Nearly 100 years on from the Declaration’s approval, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870, and it was later established as a paid holiday by US Congress in 1938.

Nowadays it’s typically marked by patriotic activities – usually outside.

Think parades, camping, barbecues, beers and fireworks, with as much red, white and blue as possible – all punctuated with a backing track of “Star spangled banner”, “Yankee Doodle” and “God Bless America”.

Politicians also like to make a point of appearing at Independence Day celebrations and praising the nation’s heritage, history and people.


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How a tax on playing cards and a thwarted tea shipment led to Independence Day

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