England was having trouble. Her American colonies were being rebellious. Why couldn't they just settle down and pay their taxes? After all, Britain needed some way to pay the war debts. And wasn't Britain defending the colonies during that war? So the colonists should pay, shouldn't they? Well, the colonists didn't see it that way. If they didn't have any seats in the British Parliament to represent them, why did they have to pay taxes that they had no say in? You know... no taxation without representation. But it wasn't just taxes that made the colonists mad; it was all the trade rules that purposely favored Britain over the colonies.
King George III was not in a listening mood. He seemed to think that a firm hand was all that was needed for them to come around to Britain's point of view and see the error of their ways. So what if colonists could be subject to search and seizure of their property without warning? And if colonists had to board soldiers in their homes? Well, after all, they were there to protect America, right?
No thanks, said the colonists. They were perfectly capable of defending themselves. But Britain wouldn't listen, especially after the tea it had shipped to Boston was destroyed in protest of the tea tax (known as "The Boston Tea Party"). After the British closed Boston Harbor, the colonists decided to unite in defense of their rights as British citizens. On April 18, 1775, the first battle of the American Revolution was fought at Lexington, Massachusetts.
The American Revolution didn't start as a war for independence. It wasn't until June 7, 1776, that independence was openly discussed by the colonies. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were chosen to draw up a document declaring independence from Great Britain. Jefferson did the actual writing. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress declared independence and started debate on Jefferson's document. After much deliberation, it was approved more or less intact.
John Adams was happy. He declared that America would always celebrate July 2nd as our independence day with parades and fireworks “from one end of this continent to the other.” Well, not quite. The day we celebrate is actually July 4th, the day the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted, not the day Congress actually declared independence.
Adams, our 2nd president, and Jefferson, our 3rd, would both pass away on the same day and only hours apart. The date... July 4, 1826 - the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.