The 4th of July falls on Wednesday this year, so the celebration of our country’s independence doesn’t make for a clean three-day weekend in 2018.
Monday, July 2nd, would have been nice. Here’s how things could have been different if we celebrated the 2nd of July as Independence Day…
The legal separation of the 13 Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from British rule.
After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining the decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author.
Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4th.
Earlier, John Adams wrote the following to his wife, Abigail:
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. 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 we all know, John Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the beginning, Americans celebrated independence on the 4th of July, the date shown on the much-publicized and ever-important Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.