The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
(For the full text of Adams’ letter, see http://bit.ly/iHfcB8)
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
238 years ago today, on July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence from England. When John Adams reported the previous day’s activities to his wife Abigail, he thought July 2 would be America’s day of celebration. Adams penned a ringing affirmation about the significance of Congress’ action and how it should be celebrated throughout the land forever, personally and publicly, with both reverence and exuberance.
Two days later, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which set forth the reasons for that action. The original draft of the Declaration was written by Jefferson. It was amended by the drafting committee and again by the Congress before it was adopted on July 4. The final version was still essentially Jefferson’s creation.
It was Jefferson’s stirring and memorable prose, adopted on the 4th of July, which sealed that date instead of the 2nd as the one to be celebrated.