John Adams penned this statement to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776:
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.
It seems that the Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that would separate the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and King George III on July 2, 1776, hence the joy and prediction that John Adams wrote the next day. However, the date shown on the actual document was July 4, 1776, and that was the date that was publicized – and Independence Day is celebrated every year on July 4th.
The document was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, with help from the Committee of Five, then signed by the members present. The only two signers of the Declaration who eventually served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and coincidentally, both died on the same day – July 4, 1826, on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing.
This statement, the second sentence of the Declaration, has become synonymous with human rights, even today:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Since the vote was cast on the second, then signed on the fourth, we should celebrate from July 2nd to July 4th. And be thankful that, even with its flaws, our founding fathers came up with some great ideas.
Here is a bit of trivia for you – in creating our constitution, the committee had a problem deciding what to call the new leader of our country – President, King, Ruler, and others were all discussed. The decision came down to an almost tie vote between President and King. However, they all knew that George Washington was going to be the new leader, and they didn’t feel that they could sell a constitution that replaced King George III of Great Britain with King George (Washington). The marketing aspects just wouldn’t work.
So President Washington it was.
From all of us at HouseSpouseLife, have a wonderful and safe Independence Day, whenever you celebrate!
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