Americans of Scottish descent have played a vibrant and influential role in the development of this country. However not until 1997 was this influence recognized by a single-year U.S. Senate Resolution that appeared in the Congressional Record of April 7, 1997. In 1998, National Tartan Day of April 6 was officially recognized on a permanent basis when the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155 recognizing April 6th as National Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41 which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9, 2005. The passage of this bill was due to the work of the National Capital Tartan Committee, Inc. and president James Morrison.
The date of April 6 commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims, and which was an influence on the American Declaration of Independence.
Canada has been celebrating "National Tartan Day" since 1993. The idea and motivation for creating a similar American holiday was provided by the Scottish Coalition, a group of national Scottish-American cultural organizations.