Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Making of a Declaration

Happy Independence Day!

Most of you are probably thinking, "Hey, wait a minute, Independence Day is still two days away."

Ah, but the answer isn't that simple. Did you know there are folks who believe Independence Day should be celebrated today--on July 2nd--rather than on July 4th? To understand this, we need to take a closer look at the timeline of the Declaration of Independence.

June 7, 1776 - Richard Henry Lee introduces a motion to the Continental Congress "Resolved: 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."
This motion was followed by heated debates, and the voting on the motion was postponed. However, Congress did appoint a committee to draft a declaration.  This committee consisted of five men, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.

July 2, 1776 - The delegates of Congress cast their votes, and the resolution of independence is adopted. The Colonies will indeed declare their independence from Britain. After the vote, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife that he believed this day would go down in history and be celebrated for generations to come.

July 4, 1776 - Congress adopts the final version of Jefferson's Declaration. John Hancock, as the President of the assembly immediately signed the document, as well as his secretary Charles Thompson, then it was sent to the printers. The rest of the delegates did not sign until a month later.

August 2, 1776 - The Declaration of Independence is officially signed by the members of congress. However, there were several signers who were not present at this ceremony and didn't sign until even later.

November of 1776 - The Declaration of Independence is finally delivered to Great Britain.

John Adams, one of the drafters of the declaration, believed that July 2nd should have been the day celebrated as the birth of our nation. After all, it was on July 2nd that Congress actually voted in favor of independence. Some reports have said that he even declined invitations to July 4th events because he felt so strongly about it.

The delegates of congress did not sign the document on July 4th.
They did not deliver the Declaration of Independence to Britain on July 4th.
The declaration was not even publicly read on July 4th. July the Fourth?

July 4th is when the declaration was officially adopted in its final version, so that's the date that was printed on all the copies that were made and distributed throughout the nation. The American people saw this date on the printed copies, and that's the date that stuck. The first time July 4th was celebrated as the anniversary was in 1777, so it was July 4th rather than the 2nd right from the start.

Another interesting thing is that two of the drafters, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, died within hours of each other on July 4th, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the declaration.

July 4th became a federal holiday in 1870, but it took until 1941 to get it as a paid holiday.

Obviously, it's too late to change it now, but I'm curious to hear your opinion.

What do you think, should we have made Independence Day July 2nd, or July 4th?

Stop by the Stitches Thru Time blog this week and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of the Declaration of Independence Anthology by Amber Schamel, Murray Pura, Joseph Max Lewis and John Amodeo.


  1. Hi Amber, interesting blog--thank you!

    Maybe they should have split the difference and made it July 3rd. LOL

    1. Haha, that would have been an interesting compromise. :)
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Great post! I wasn't aware of all the different dates but July 4th still works for me! Have a Happy 4th, Amber!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Melanie! Good to see you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.
      Happy Independence Day to you too!

  3. The Second of July? Doesn't sound right. Of course, if that had been the holiday all along, the Fourth of July wouldn't sound right. My grandmother and aunt were both born on the Fourth. Leave it!

    1. Haha, I think you're right, Terri. However we're used to it is what sounds right to us. Thanks for weighing in, and happy birthday to your grandma and aunt! What a great birthday to have!

  4. I don't think it matters when we celebrate our country's birth, but it's important that we do. We're celebrating on the 3rd this year at my sister's place.

    1. I completely agree with you, Vickie. We're celebrating on the 3rd, 4th and 5th this year. :) I think it's so important to remember the birth of our country and what it was founded upon, and also the hearts of the men and women that put so much into it.