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Rough draft of the Declaration of Independence
Original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson's hand

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Independence Day: Americans Celebrate the Birth of Their Nation
July 4, 1776

It's Independence Day! Today, all across the United States, people are wishing each other a happy Fourth of July. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. Though it is the Constitution that provides the legal and governmental framework for the United States, the Declaration, with its eloquent assertion "all Men are created equal," is equally beloved by the American people. On the Declaration's first anniversary, many citizens of Philadelphia had a spontaneous July 4th celebration. But it wasn't until after the War of 1812 that observing Independence Day became commonplace.
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