Many people celebrate the Fourth of July as the birthday of the United States, but the actual events on that day involved only a half dozen people. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the officers of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the other members signed during a ceremony on August 2.
Is the Fourth of July the day the U.S. declared its independence? Explore all the dates during the summer of 1776 that are associated with the Declaration of Independence:
- July 2: Declaration of Independence Resolution adopted by the Continental Congress
- July 4: Declaration of Independence signed by the officers of the Continental Congress
- July 8: First public reading of the Declaration of Independence
- August 2: Declaration of Independence signed by 50 of the 56 men who signed the document
Explore texts that include the stories surrounding the Declaration of Independence. Possibilities include reference books, encyclopedias, and specific texts, examples of which appear in the Independence Day Book List.
With your students, consider why there are so many different dates and why we celebrate the nation’s birthday on July 4.