When the great American experiment began it was as a letter to King George III to explain why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain. It was on June 7, 1776 at a meeting of the Continental Congress in the Pennsylvania State House that Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. On July 2 the Continental Congress voted unanimously in favor of Lee’s resolution, even though New York initially abstained. The White House held its first July 4th party in 1801, even though many thought of themselves as citizens of Great Britain. “Yankee Doodle,” one of the most popular songs sung on this holiday, had its provenance in a tune that marked the “Yankee” who British soldiers fought during the French and Indian War.