Everyone knows that we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 — with patriotic displays, parades, barbecues and fireworks — but it’s the wrong day, according to John Adams.
John Adams wrote to Abigail that “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the history of America,” because the Continental Congress voted for Independence on July 2.
Here are some interesting Independence Day facts:
- Not all states voted for independence that day — New York’s delegates abstained because they hadn’t been given permission by their state to vote on the question of independence. They approved the action of the Continental Congress July 9.
Independence Hall (National Park Service photo)
- The Declaration of Independence was officially signed August 2, 1776.
John Trumbull painting in the U.S. Capitol (Architect of the U.S. Capitol photo)
- This is what the room looks like today. Not exactly as we saw it in the movie “National Treasure.”
Signing room (National Park Service photo)
- In 1776, there were about 2.5 million residents of this new country. Now there are more than 310 million residents.
- The “Dunlap Broadside,” or original printed version of the Declaration of Independence, consisted of 200 copies. Only 26 have been accounted for.
- Independence Day has been celebrated since 1777 but didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870.
So this Friday, be sure to celebrate! My favorite part is the fireworks — the louder, the better. If you’re in Buena Vista for the summer, check out the annual ballon rally and firework show at the Virginia Military Institute.
Some Von Canon Library resources about our declaration for independence:
“Founding Mothers: the women who raised our nation”
by Cokie Roberts
“The annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence”
edited by Jack Rakove
“Foreign affairs and the Founding Fathers: from Confederation to Constitution, 1776-1787”
by Norman A. Graebner
“The faiths of the Founding Fathers”
by David L. Holmes
HBO Films (DVD)
Columbia Pictures (DVD)
“A More Perfect Union”
“Suicide Pact: 56 men put their lives on the line by signing the Declaration of Independence”
by William Hogeland
American History August 2013
“When in the course of human events it became necessary to celebrate July 4th”
by James R. Heintze
Phi Kappa Phi Forum
(Post by Melissa Davis. Photos by Melissa Davis and Eryn Davis.)