Before they were the United States, the American colonies were part of Great Britain. The British government passed laws putting high taxes on the American colonists. The colonists were upset, which led to protests such as the Boston Tea Party.
Representatives from 12 of the 13 colonies met together in 1774 at the First Continental Congress to make a list of requests to the British government. But the British ignored the requests. So the colonists met again for the Second Continental Congress in 1775. By this time, the Revolutionary War had already started, and Congress was acting as the national government for the colonies, even though it technically didn’t have the right to do so. On July 2, 1776, the delegates voted unanimously to create a document that would state the reasons the colonists were fighting. It would be called the Declaration of Independence.
So why don’t we celebrate July 2? July 4, 1776 was the date that the Declaration of Independence was finished, signed, and delivered to the public. It explained why Congress had voted that the 13 colonies were independent of Great Britain’s rule. It also officially gave Congress the right to act as the new nation’s government.