The 4th of July. "Independence Day." "The Big Easy." The day the entire planet gets together to put aside our differences and bond over our common love of fireworks and professional baseball. It's here again, just as we all expected it to be and, as usual, it fills the heart of every man, woman and child with patriotic warmth and togetherness.
Now, we all know what rituals we are supposed to engage in: "Oohing" at fireworks, enjoying barbecues, hoping your hot neighbor-lady gets drunk enough to have sex with you, but no one really knows why. It's true. The real history behind Independence Day is a complete mystery, lost forever to the ages in a whirlwind of lust, hot dogs and unwarranted restraining orders. Sure, there are rumors as to the origins of Independence Day, but we may never really know the truth. Much like showering and wearing pants in church, Independence Day is one of many practices that people regularly engage in without having the slightest idea of Why.
Well, never being one for mysteries, I took it upon myself to clear up this whole confusing ordeal once and for all. I'm here to expose the truth behind Independence Day. I dug deep, folks. I hit every library, museum and strip club in the entire East Coast and I've emerged covered in equal parts truth and body glitter to share with you my discoveries. Here, for the first time ever, I've assembled all the facts and figures to give you the road to Independence Day.
-Taxation Occurs, Very Little Representation is Involved- Great Britain, who at this point still controls America, decides to set up the Stamp and Quartering Acts, a series of taxes on the American people who refuse to pay on the grounds that they had no say in the voting process that led to the creation and enforcing of these taxes. Adding insult to injury, GB adds the first of many unfair Townshend Acts, (named for harmless, family-friendly comedian Robert Townsend and yet, somewhat oddly, spelled wrong). As a result of the unfair taxation, the colonists famously coined the rallying cry "You better check yourself before you wreck yourself."
-Boston Massacre- A confrontation between British troops and Colonists erupts leading to the death of five (5) fucking people. The first death, that of black Crispus Attucks, (who was really just trying to avoid actual slavery), is regarded as the first casualty in the colonists's struggle for independence. This is also regarded as the first in a long standing tradition whereby a black man has to suffer the unfortunate results of and put up with a bunch of stupid white guy bullshit.
-Tea Act- The Tea Act is passed and this is a really huge deal. Great Britain knows how much the colonists love Tea so they charge them exorbitant sums. This is, for some reason, not capitalism.
-December- Bostonians throw a boatload of Tea overboard into the water in what is known as The Boston Tea Party. Now no one has Tea. (America's critical thinking and problem-solving skills are not quite fully developed). While the giddy Bostonians stared out at the sinking, ruined Tea, grinning triumphantly, one standoffish colonist, Stanley, is heard to ask "Why didn't we just take the tea? Then we'd have it." After a thoughtful pause, he is thrown overboard.
-First Continental Congress- The FCC is formed with the intention of peacefully and reasonably stopping Great Britain.
-Nevermind.- About five months later, Revolution happens all up in Britain's shit. The Continental Army is formed with George Washington as its head lunatic.
-Common Sense Thomas Paine's Common Sense becomes an instant bestseller and makes a strong case for total Independence that reaches just about every colonist. His follow-up, Common Cents, a series of tasteful photographs of loose change, does not enjoy a similar success.
-July 4th- We're finally independent! Oh... Oh we're not? Oh, okay, the Continental Congress just approves the Declaration of Independence.
(This can't honestly be what we're celebrating. There's no way, right? Of course not. We're gonna go ahead and keep moving.)
-August 2nd- We're finally independent! Oh. Not yet? Okay.
The Constitution is just Signed.
-August 3rd - The Constitution is just Sealed.
-August 4th - The Constitution is just Delivered.
-September 9th- "United States of America" is chosen as the country's name, just narrowly beating out "GreatBritainSucksburg" and "Titslyvania."
-December 5th- The First American College Fraternity is formed.
-December 6th- Collar-popping, barbed wire tattoos and date-rape invented.
-December 25th- To celebrate Christmas, George Washington sails across the Delaware River and slaughters a bunch of Hessian mercenaries.
-Fuck it!- Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown. They didn't even want American in the first place. They heard it was full of skanks anyway and said that we can keep it.
-September 3rd- We're finally independent? American Independence is secured.
-June 21st- US Constitution Ratified.
(That's it then, right? We're official now? Let's say 'yes.' June 21st, 1788. A day that will live in WhoGivesAShitfamy.)
-Here Come Da Prez- George Washington becomes the first white President of the United States.
Oh, son of a bitch, that's everything, isn't it?
So... So, there you have it, I guess. Apparently, every 4th of July, we are asked to remember the Declaration of Independence being approved, even though it wasn't actually signed for another month, even though we'd already unofficially "declared our independence" by murdering the shit out of a bunch of British troops a year earlier, and even though we wouldn't even technically win that war for another 7 years, July 4th is where it's at.
Fireworks, as you probably know, are the Iroquois symbol for arbitrarily selecting a day to represent the formation of an entire country in the hopes that the people celebrating the holiday won't bother doing any research, (it's a fairly complex language).