On July 2, 1776, the American Continental Congress resolved “That these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States.”
In a letter written to Abigail Adams on July 3rd, John Adams wrote to his wife:
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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
The proper date for celebration of the declaration of independence is actually a little sketchy. After voting in favor of the resolution of independence, the Congress turned its attention back to the draft of the document itself. A few changes were made in the wording, and Congress deleted nearly a fourth of the text, most notably a passage critical of the slave trade.
On July 4, 1776, the new wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and sent to the printer for publication. On July 8th it was read publicly for the first time, which is also the date on which a big party was held in Philadelphia. Most historians believe the document wasn’t signed until nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776. And the British didn’t hear about it until August 30th.
The upshot? There would be nothing wrong with having two months worth of picnics and parties.
I’m with you for the two months of picnics and parties!!
I’m all for grilling out and watching fireworks for 2 months. Do we get to take time off of work too?
YOU are a good American sharing these kinds of posts. I salute you. And bring on the SHEWS! (had to go look that one up. I probably looked it up when I read the mcCullough book on Adams, too, but I forget.)
How interesting! I bet you and your husband have some fascinating discussions! I think I’d be intimidated to hang out at your house.
How interesting! This actually reminds me that I have a book about John and Abigail Adams I really want to read, LOL.
Two months of picnics and fireworks would certainly detract from the heat and humidity here in the northeast. Speaking of “shews,” I wonder if Ed Sullivan was a descendant? 😀
How funny that the dates and specifics seem to be variable depending on just what was going on at the time and what exactly we are celebrating! I would love to be able to celebrate for 2 months, that would be awesome! Jill, you have a great ability to make history interesting to me, and I appreciate that because I often neglected to pay attention to it in school!
A summer-long celebration is fine by me 😉
I say we make it an amendment. The Two Months of Cake Amendment.
Oh dear god – not two months worth of fireworks going off every month!
Very interesting…somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that the 2nd of July was the original date, but I hadn’t heard the Adams quote about it before. That’s why I find historical non-fiction so fascinating – it can be pretty funny how things turn out compared to how people thought they would.
Isn’t it interesting how those historic dates are selected?
No more fireworks please!