The Story of the Fourth of July


We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

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But July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn’t the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn’t happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

So what did happen 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 (the copy 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.

In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!

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.

Regardless, Happy Independence Day America from your friends at WIH Resource Group !!!

U.S. Pocket Constitution Book To learn more about the Constitution — the people, the events, the landmark cases — order a copy of “The U.S. Constitution & Fascinating Facts About It” today!  Call to order: 1-800-887-6661 or order pocket constitution books online.
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US EPA Issues Clean Energy Action Guide for States


The US EPA issued a report that outlines a strategy to deliver clean, low-cost, and reliable energy to state residents through the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean distributed generation.

The intent is to provide states with the information they need to determine what energy options would be the most beneficial, practical, and cost-effective. The potential energy savings achievable through state actions is significant. EPA estimates that if each state were to implement cost-effective clean energy-environment policies, the expected growth in demand for electricity could be cut in half by 2025, and more demand could be met through cleaner energy supply.

This would mean annual savings of more than 900 bil­lion kilowatt-hours (kWh) and $70 billion in energy costs by 2025, while preventing the need for more than 300 power plants and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to emissions from 80 million of today’s vehicles.

Opportunities for State Action State governments are increasingly developing poli­cies and programs that address their energy chal­lenges and spur greater investment in energy effi­ciency, renewable energy, and clean distributed resources. For example, states are: Leading by example by establishing programs that achieve substantial energy cost savings within their own state facilities, fleets, and operations and encouraging the broader adoption of clean energy by the public and private sectors.

State governments across the country are collaborating with state agencies, local governments, and schools to identify and capture energy savings within their facilities and operations, purchase or generate renewable energy, and use clean DG/CHP in their facilities. Establishing ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs (e.g., public benefits funds) to help over­ come a variety of first-cost, informational, split-incentive, and other market barriers that limit greater reliance on energy efficiency.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. have adopted public benefits funds (PBFs) for energy efficiency, and 16 states have developed PBFs for clean energy sup­ply. Adopting state minimum appliance efficiency stan­dards for products not covered by the federal gov­ernment that yield net cost savings to businesses and consumers. Ten states have adopted appliance standards covering 36 types of appliances (Delaski 2005, Nadel et al. 2005).

Establishing renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that direct electric utilities and other retail electric providers to supply a specified minimum percent­ age (or absolute amount) of customer load with eligible sources of renewable electricity. Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. have adopted RPS requirements, which are expected to generate more than 26,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity by 2015 (Navigant 2005).

Reviewing utility incentives and planning processes and designing policies that accurately value ener­gy efficiency, renewables, and distributed resources in a way that “levels the playing field” so public utility commissions and consumers can make fair, economically based comparisons between clean energy and other resources. More than 12 states have developed approaches that remove disincentives for utilities to invest in demand-side resources.

For more information: http://epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-programs/state-and-local/state-best-practices.html#leadbyexample

Source: EPA

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