VIDEO OF THE DAY: Enjoy This Inspiring Clip from ‘The Patriot,’ a 2000 Film Starring Mel Gibson

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Continental Congress approved final wording of Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776

WATCH: In honor of the Independence Day Holiday 2019, enjoy this inspiring clip from the movie “The Patriot,” a 2000 film starring Mel Gibson. Independence Day, or Fourth of July, has been an American holiday since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Independence Day, or Fourth of July, has been an American holiday since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

So what happened on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They’d been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August, which is now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, was the date they remembered.

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The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?

For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation.

By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.

After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans.

Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas.

Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

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