It’s July 2nd – the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress voted for independence. John Adams predicted fairly accurately how we’d celebrate Independence Day, with parades, fireworks and such, but he figured that we’d celebrate the second, not the fourth.
The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4th, which is why that date appears at the top of the document; “In Congress, July 4, 1776”, but the motion was voted on and approves on the second.
Incidentally, most of the delegates signed the Declaration on August 4th, not July 4th, with the last signature, Thomas McKean not being added until 1781.
However, this is all trivia. It makes things interesting, but does not detract from the importance of the event. A handful of accomplished but very human (i.e. flawed) men worked through their differences and created this great country of ours.
When we despair at the political antics we see today, perhaps it is good to remember that beloved Thomas Jefferson came in second to John Adams and therefore was Adams’ vice president. The next election cycle he hired an expert to run a vicious campaign against Adams accusing him of being a hermaphrodite, among other things. (For an interesting Mental Floss/CNN article, click [HERE]).
Our democratic republic is hardly perfect, but I argue that it’s as good as we humans can do.
P.S. As you know, I enjoy the Musical/Movie “1776” and have tried to make it a family tradition to watch it the weekend closest to the 4th. Unfortunately, there’s not too much enthusiasm, and in a year when I’m down to one child without a driver’s license, the chance for it becoming a tradition will be gone.