In the United States, Independence Day (commonly known as the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday, commemorating the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The day is frequently observed by American citizens with celebrations - going to fireworks, family reunions, concerts, barbecues, picnics, parades, baseball games, or various other public and private events which celebrate the history, government, and traditions of the United States, but is often also viewed as simply a summer festival, apart from its patriotic overtones.
The act of Congress establishing Fourth of July as a holiday, but without pay, for federal employees and the District of Columbia occurred in 1870.
On June 29, 1938, by joint resolution of Congress (HJ resolution No. 551; pub. res. no. 127), the Fourth of July was legislated as a Federal holiday with pay for its employees:
On January 14, 1941, it was brought to the attention of Congress by Robert Ramspeck, Chairman, Committee on the Civil Service of the House of Representatives (see 77th Congress, House of Representatives Report No. 532), that the 1938 Federal holiday law failed to specify that employees of the Government of the District of Columbia also have the Fourth of July designated as a holiday with pay, and on May 13, 1941, a "Holiday Leave for Per Diem Employees of the District of Columbia" amendment was enacted.
On September 22, 1959, an act was passed by Congress (H.R. 5752, Public Law 86-362) that if the Fourth of July and any other established holiday occurs on a Saturday, "the day immediately preceding such Saturday shall be held and considered to be a legal public holiday, in lieu of such day which so occurs on such Saturday, (A) for such officers and employees whose basic workweek is Monday through Friday, and (B) for the purposes of section 205 (d) of the Annual and Sick Leave Act of 1951 (65 Stat. 681), as amended (5 U.S.C. 2064 (d)). The act also provided for a day of release for employees "whose basic workweek is other than Monday through Friday."