United States Semiquincentennial

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United States Semiquincentennial
Date 2026
Duration year long
Type anniversary observance

The United States Semiquincentennial will be the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the United States of America. It will occur in 2026. Observances have been planned.


The United States was established in 1776 with a unilateral Declaration of Independence signed in Independence Hall (pictured)

Under American domestic law, the United States of America was de jure established on July 2, 1776, by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] The reasoning for the resolution was explained in a declaration dated on July 4 of that year, the date on which the anniversary of independence is customarily observed.[2] In 1876 the United States organized nationwide centennial observances centered on Philadelphia.[3] Bicentennial observances, also centered on Philadelphia, occurred in 1976.[3] The year 2026 marks the United States' semiquincentennial, or 250th anniversary of establishment.[4]


In 2014, the Philadelphia City Council ordered a public hearing of the Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs to investigate "the impact and feasibility of Philadelphia" hosting the United States Semiquincentennial in 2026, among other events.[5] The following year a non-profit organization, USA250, was established in Philadelphia to lobby for federal government support of the United States semiquincentennial and establish Philadelphia as the host city for events surrounding the semiquincentennial observances.[6] The United States Semiquincentennial Commission was subsequently established by Public Law 114-196 ("United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of July 2016"), signed by the President of the United States on July 22, 2016.[7]

On November 15, 2017, the United States Department of the Interior issued a request for proposals seeking a non-profit corporation to act as secretariat to the commission and lead nationwide organization of observances.[8] American Battlefield Trust was, thereafter, named the commission's secretariat.[9]

Activities and observances

Federal legislation directs that semiquincentennial events receive special focus in the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, and New York (pictured, clockwise from top left).

The United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of 2016 directs the United States Government to issue commemorative coins and postage stamps, and commission appropriately named naval vessels, in advance of the semiquincentennial.[10][11] In addition, specific activities – both officially organized and independently created – have been planned. The legislation specifically directs the organization of events β€œin locations of historical significance to the United States" going on to list Boston, Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia.[12]


In 2016 Revolution 250, a non-profit group organized to plan commemorative events in Boston surrounding the semiquincentennial, was established.[13] According to the organization, it is a consortium of groups including the Society of the Cincinnati, the National Park Service, the Boston Tea Party Museum, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Suffolk University history department, the Boston Downtown Business Improvement District, The Bostonian Society, and others.[14]


Commemorative tree planting

In 2017 the Daughters of the American Revolution announced a grant of $380,000 to the city of Philadelphia to plant 76 semiquincentennial commemorative trees at the Independence National Historical Park.[15] The actual planting of the trees will occur over the course of several years leading up to the semiquincentennial.[16]

Time capsule

The commission has announced it is preparing a time capsule for burial in Philadelphia on July 4, 2026, which will be scheduled for unearthing on July 4, 2276, the 500th anniversary of United States independence.[7]

Vision 2026 redevelopment

In 2016, city planners announced "Vision 2026", a plan to redevelop Old City in preparation for the semiquincentennial.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Did You Know... Independence Day Should Actually Be July 2?". archives.gov. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Declaration of Independence, 1776". Office of the Historian. United States Department of State. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Bykofsky, Stu (April 28, 2017). "Can Philly handle the Semiquincentennial?". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Dupree, Jamie (July 4, 2016). "What do you call July 4, 2026?". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "File 140197". Philadelphia City Council. City of Philadelphia. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Gelb, Matt (January 17, 2016). "Planning the nation's birthday party . . . for 2026". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Ferriero to Serve on Semiquincentennial Commission". archives.gov. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Nonprofit Sought to Coordinate U.S.A.'s 250th Anniversary Commemoration". National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Civil War Trust Selected as Nonprofit Partner for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States". doi.gov. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sen. Shaheen will bring NH's voice". Nashua Telegraph. November 17, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "Public Law 114–196" (PDF). congress.gov. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  12. ^ Herman, Ken (August 3, 2016). "Can you say semiquincentennial?". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  13. ^ Taylor, Karen Cord (January 28, 2016). "Downtown View: Sestercentennial". Beacon Hill Times. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "Membership". revolution250.org. Revolution 250. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  15. ^ Bykofsky, Stu (June 27, 2017). "Philly gets money from DAR for semiquincentennial trees". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  16. ^ Crimmins, Peter (November 8, 2017). "76 trees to be planted in Independence Park". WHYY-FM.
  17. ^ Tanenbaum, Michael (April 3, 2016). "Old City District presents Vision 2026 development goals". Philly Voice. Retrieved May 21, 2018.

External links

  • American Battlefield Trust, secretariat to the United States Semiquincentennial Commission
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