During the time when the declaration was signed, US comprised of 13 colonies. And during that time King George III of England was ruling. There was mayhem for quite a long time and the unrest just went on augmenting. The following timeline will give you an idea about the history behind 4th July.
It was in this year that the 13 colonies had send delegates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for forming the First Continental Congress. Still unrest was brewing up but there was no sign that the colonies were ready to declare war.
The troop of King George advanced towards Concord, Massachusetts, signaling Paul Revere's midnight ride which had a continuous alarm along with it- "The British are coming, the British are coming".
The succeeding clash of Concord, which had become famous for being the "shot heard round the world," had marked the unofficial commencement of the American Revolution.
It was more than a year that America was trying to ease out the differences with England; and the colonies once more took the initiative to send delegates to the Second Continental Congress.
The efforts were all futile. A committee had been formed for composing the formal Declaration of Independence, which was steered by Thomas Jefferson. The committee had other members like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.
June 28, 1776
It was now that Jefferson handed over the first draft of the declaration to congress.
July 4, 1776 -
Modifications had been made to Jefferson's original draft, for which a vote had been taken. Among the 13 colonies, 9 vouched in favor of the Declaration; 2 vouched for Pennsylvania and South Carolina didn't vote, whereas Delaware remained undecided and New York refrained from voting.
It was John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, who first signed the Declaration of Independence.
July 6, 1776-
The first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence was the Pennsylvania Evening Post.
July 4, 1777-
This year sees the first ever Independence Day celebration with loads of festivity. There were traditions of Independence Day parades, picnics, and fireworks and the culture is continuing till date.