American Independence Day-July 4



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American Independence Day—July 4th

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by Don Fisher
B

efore the Europeans came, the Native Americans lived in America. (Native American are also called American Indians.) The Pilgrims came from England (part of Great Britain) in 1620. Later other people came to America. They started towns. The towns and farms grew into colonies.
By the 1700’s there were 13 colonies. These were ruled by Britain.
The British wanted money from the colonies. In 1764 the British passed the Sugar Act. This was a tax on sugar and other sugar products. The next year, in 1765 the Stamp Act taxed papers. Newspapers, playing cards, and other papers needed special stamps. The Townshend Acts taxed tea and The other things. Tea Act of 1773 made the British East India Company the only group that could sell tea to the colonies. People in Boston became angry. They got on the ships in the harbor and threw boxes of tea into the water. People did not like the new taxes.
The next year, 1774, the British passed several laws that were called the “Intolerable Acts.” One of these said that soldiers could stay in people’s homes without paying. (This is called quartering.) Another act changed the elected officials of Massachusetts for people appointed by the King. This made people very angry.


The people got so angry that they started collecting guns and powder. They hid the guns and powder. They also sent representatives to the first Continental Congress in 1774. The Congress asked the King to stop taxation without representation. The Americans wanted freedom and democracy.


The British soldiers went to Concord to get the hidden guns. The Americans met them at Lexington (near Concord) on April 19, 1775. This was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. It was “the shot heard round the world.” Eight Americans died. On the way back to Boston, seventy-five British soldiers died.
The second Continental Congress met in May of 1775. In June of 1775, George Washington was made Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. The war was continuing.


On July 4, 1776 the Congress declared independence from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson wrote most of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration said that it was necessary to declare independence because the British government was abusive. The colonies wanted freedom.


The Declaration of Independence said that all people had three rights:

1. Life


2. Liberty

3. The Pursuit of Happiness




During the war, France and other countries helped the Americans. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783.
Vocabulary
Match the word with the phrase.
_____ 1. declare A. day of independence
_____ 2. England B. first Commander in Chief
_____ 3. independence C. first people in America
_____ 4. intolerable D. head of a country
_____ 5. abusive E. hurting people
_____ 6. July 4th F. main writer of the Declaration of Independence
_____ 7. George Washington G. not accepted
_____ 8. king H. say
_____ 9. life & liberty I. soldiers living in people’s homes
_____ 10. quartering J. part of Great Britain
_____ 11. 1776 K. two rights of all people
_____ 12. Thomas Jefferson L. year of independence
_____ 13. Native Americans M. freedom

Questions


1. Who lived in America first?

2. When did the Pilgrims arrive in America?

3. What country ruled over the colonies?

4. Name all 13 colonies.

5. Name some of the things that were taxed in the 1760”s.

6. What were some of the acts that made the Americans angry in the 1770’s?

7. What does intolerable mean?

8. Why did the Americans hide guns?

9. Where did the British search for hidden guns?

10. When did the American Revolutionary War start?

11. a. When was independence declared?

b. From what country was independence declared?

12. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

13. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?



14. How old is the U.S.A.?
Order
Put the events in the correct order on the time line.
The Battle of Lexington & Concord
The First Continental Congress
Independence Declared
The Pilgrims Arrive
The Sugar Act
The Tea Act Last












First


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