Happy Original Independence Day

Go out to your backyard tonight and set off those fireworks a couple of days early.  When your irate neighbors open their windows and lean out to ask you what the heck you think you’re doing, you can give them a little history lesson. 

The Continental Congress actually voted to make America independent on July 2, 1776.  That was the day the delegates adopted the resolution, presented by Richard Henry Lee, that the colonies were in fact “free and independent States.”  No wonder John Adams assumed independence was settled when he wrote to Abigail on July 3.

The Fourth of July, therefore, is not the “original” Independence Day, but the anniversary of the formal acceptance of the Declaration of Independence by Congress.  And, of course, it’s also the anniversary of our victory over the aliens.

Here are a few other independence-related myths from HNN.  Anyway, it’s the independence that counts, right?

(Independence Hall photo from Wikimedia Commons)



Filed under American Revolution

2 responses to “Happy Original Independence Day

  1. I had a professor in college who would get a little animated discussing the fact that we should be celebrating our independence on July 2 instead of the 4th. Because of that, I always think of it, and of him, on the 2nd of July — but he’s dead now, and I thought maybe he was the last guy who was a stickler for that fine, and important point.

    Good to see the distinction is still being made. I think we should alternate between the 2nd and the 4th, depending on which one is closest to a weekend. Maybe we could avoid those unfortunate single-day, mid-week holidays.


  2. mlynchhistory

    The alternation isn’t a bad idea. We could lengthen our holiday weekends and educate the public all at the same time!


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