Fourth of July wasn’t widely celebrated during the American Revolution because the country was at war and only about a third of the population strongly supported a split with Great Britain. Up through the 1790s, the leaders of the country, including George Washington, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, were Federalists who had some disagreements with the main author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson. They were more likely to point to the Constitution.
“The soaring language of the Declaration of Independence has always been a conundrum, and what it represented to people in the nation it helped create has meant different things to different people at different times,” said Steven Fountain, a history professor and director of Native American Affairs on the Washington State University Vancouver campus.
“The people who signed the Declaration were mainly interested in a type of freedom for themselves and others like them,” said Clif Stratton, associate professor of American history at WSU. It was freedom from the restraints the British put on them, and the freedom to settle more lands.