Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Real Independence Day

Independence Day is July 4 because that's when the Declaration of Independence was signed and the colonies broke off from Great Britain, right? Wrong. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been introduced in June. "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival," John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail. "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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more." As usual, Adams was mostly correct, but a little off.

The Declaration had been written as a way of explaining the vote for independence to colonists and British alike. Congress spent the next two days debating and revising the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. But they didn't sign it then. Most delegates didn't sign the document until August 2. More importantly, the Declaration is an explanation and an explanation only. The radical thing was the approval of the initial resolution.

In short, today is the real Independence Day. Go ahead, be pedantic about it: start eating and drinking two days early. It's the patriotic thing to do.

1 comment:

tunsie said...

26 january is australia independence day,and the end of may is VIKTORIJA day in canada.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie