Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which occurred on the 4th of July in 1776. This declaration removed the Thirteen Colonies out from under the iron grip of Great Britain, which up until that point had kept a very strict watch on the trade and finances of America. This need for independence came from a certain resentment, as the colonial model was in no way sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the American.
What was born thus after the Declaration and the ensuing Revolutionary War is altogether unique in the landscape of countries and political development. In the years that followed, numerous European visitors took note of this American anomaly, such as French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville. Originally sent to America to survey their prison system, Tocqueville ended up making note of the unique birth of democracy that had taken place in the United States. He spoke in great length on the deep desire for freedom, and its great distinction from European appeals for Democracy. The European continent, in all of its decadence and splendor, carried an ancient infrastructure of autocracy. In numerous attempts to be rid of that system, shaky ideologies were formed on the spot in order to justify what was desired. Robespierre's Reign of Terror can be seen as an example of how these ideas might have proved dangerous. However, Tocqueville writes on the unsoiled nature of the American spirit. With the American landscape as a blank canvas (more or less), settlers came in with more than ideologies, but with a thirst for the creation of something new.
This day is not simply a time for fireworks and picnics, but also an opportunity to celebrate the nation's heritage. A great fortune smiled upon the Thirteen Colonies, and it allowed us to see days without colonial rule. Meanwhile, many still remain under the oppressive hand, or are yet broken from the still imprinted shadow of colonialism.