Happy July 4th or maybe happy July 2nd

As a history major/nerd I learned about how July 4th might not be truly the day we need to be celebrating. Was thinking about writing more about this but let it slip and then I thought about it again when I saw this post MinnPost – Happy Second of July

Eric Black lays it out for me:

July 2 — yes second — of 1776 that the Continental Congress adopted a resolution declaring independence from Britain.

No, the Fourth was also not the day they signed the Declaration of Independence (that happened quite a while later and over many days). July 4 was just the day they stopped making changes in the draft of the Declaration and adopted the final edited text of the document justifying to the world the decision they had taken two days earlier on a resolution by Virginian Richard Henry Lee (who, for various reasons, never gets the credit he deserves stating:

“That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Here’s a slightly longer version of the wrong-day-to-shoot-the-firecrackers problem, which notes that no less than John Adams (one of the three main drafters of the Declaration of Independence) wrote home to Abigail on July 3 declaring that for the rest of time, Americans would celebrate July 2 as “the great anniversary festival.”

I can see why July 4th would be celebrated since that is the day of the Declaration of Independence that we have come to know and quote so much, but as Black says it is just laying out and explaining why the July 2nd resolution was made. In the end July 2nd or 4th, Independence Day is still a great reason to celebrate.

3 thoughts on “Happy July 4th or maybe happy July 2nd”

  1. I just played some Risk on Xbox Live last night (the 4th of July) and met some pretty cool Canadians as most Americans were busy celebrating. It was storming here, so it was a big no-go on fireworks for us in southern Minnesota.

    Anyways, apparently Canada Day is the first of July, and they celebrate it the same way as we celebrate the 4th. Considered to be the “birthday of Canada”, lots of fireworks, grilling out and picnics are the days activities.

  2. Towards the end of the John Adams mini-series HBO did a couple years ago Adams rants about the painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, criticizing that all those people were never in the room together at the same time.

  3. Ya I remember that, Eric Black also mentions that in the link, but ya it was not signed in one day and was done over several days and even months

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