Independence Early

Happy Independence Day to all my American readers. Unofficially, that is. Did you know that Congress voted for Independence on July 2, 1776? In fact, John Adams wrote to his wife regarding the day:

The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha 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.

[quoted in David McCollough’s John Adams, p. 130]

Adams was close. The celebrations and solemnizations did happen—but the day eventually set apart was July 4—the date the actual Declaration of Independence document was approved.

Ironically, McCullough writes that on July 4th, following the approval of the document, little of note happened. John Adams wrote nothing of the day, and of Jefferson it was only noted that he went shopping.

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