This year, the National Archives celebrates the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with special events in Washington, DC, and at Presidential Libraries nationwide.
On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence, declaring the United States independent of Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved. On August 2, 1776, delegates began to sign the engrossed Declaration of Independence penned by Timothy Matlack. For a detailed history of the founding document, be sure to read “The Declaration of Independence: A History” on Archives.gov.
As the trustees of our nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights—the National Archives and Records Administration is a natural place to celebrate this national holiday.
For those of you in Washington, DC this July 4, stop by Constitution Avenue at 10 a.m. for a Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony, then head inside for family activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also join us for celebrations at our Presidential Libraries around the nation, or join the Washington festivities through Facebook Live, which will broadcast the events live. Watch last year’s celebration for a taste of the festivities.
Learn more and find a celebration near you on our July 4 Celebration events page. Wherever you are on July 4th, share your celebrations on social media using the hashtag #ArchivesJuly4.
Independence Day Records at NARA
We can often take our founding documents for granted. I encourage all of us to take time during our Independence Day celebrations to read these documents and to pause and remember the difficult choices our nation’s Founders made and the meaning of these documents today.
- Engrossed Declaration of Independence
- Constitution of the United States
- Bill of Rights
- Film of the transfer of the Charters of Freedom from the Library of Congress to NARA
- Public Resolution directing the distribution of certain copies of the Declaration of Independence
- Papers of the Continental Congress
I wish you all a safe and happy Independence Day!