The Second Continental United States Congress voted in favor of a resolution of independence which was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia in June of 1776. This resolution of independence was actually the legal separation for the American colonies from Great Britain. After their initial approval, Congress focused on the statement regarding this decision. The Declaration of Independence was prepared by the committee of five men: Thomas Jefferson, the principal author, of Virginia. John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert Livingston of New York. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally giving its approval on July 4th 1776.
John Adams then penned this statement in a letter to his wife, Abagail on July 3rd:
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
Americans have celebrated Independence Day on the fourth of July right from the very start. John Adams' date of July 2nd as our Independence Day was off by two days, but that doesn't seem to matter much now, does it? The date written on the Declaration of Independence became the date to celebrate and to remember. What happened behind the closed doors of Congress when they actually approved it on the 2nd was trivial compared to the actual paper's date. Since then, many historians have disputed that it actually was signed on July 4, 1776. They believe it was signed on August 2, 1776, a month later. Though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on July 4,1776.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were the only signers of the Declaration Of Independence who became Presidents of the United States. They also died on the same day July 4, 1826, which just happened to be the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration Of Independence. Now that is indeed, a strange coincidence!
Hope you have a Happy Fourth of July with your family and friends! Enjoy and cherish your freedom since we do not know how long it will last.............especially now!
Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole