Bad News: You Missed Independence Day

People all over the nation will get together for cookouts and fireworks, celebrating the birth of the United States of America. Except, they’re wrong. July 4th really doesn’t have much of a claim on the title of “America’s Independence Day.” You can make a much stronger case for July 2nd.

John Adams wrote this to his wife, Abigail, 237 years ago today on July 3, 1776:

“the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

July 2nd is the day the Continental Congress approved a resolution supporting independence from Great Britain. That effectively declared the independence of the colonies. But, historically, something else hadn’t happened yet, namely, the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th. You’ve seen the illustrations of that event, right? All of the founders gathered in Independence Hall on a hot July day? Wrong. Historians say the founders never gathered to sign the document. They believe most of the founders signed the Declaration on August 2nd, with the last founder to sign the declaration inking his signature in 1777!

Here’s a sign of the times. Great Britain didn’t find out about the declaration until the end of August.