Fourth of July, Independence Day, or July Fourth, U.S. holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration on July 4, 1776; it had previously voted to declare independence on July 2d. Celebration of the day began during the American Revolution, and it has been the most important American patriotic holiday ever since. Traditionally it has been celebrated with the firing of guns and fireworks, parades, open-air meetings, and patriotic speeches. Today local ordinances prevent much of the former display of fireworks and use of firearms.
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