Second of July does not have the same ring as Fourth of July, does it? But, strictly speaking, today, July 2, is the true birthday of America.
On this day in 1776, the congress of delegates in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, voted to adopt a resolution of independence. The resolution had been introduced weeks earlier by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, but voting on it was delayed until July 2. Twelve colonies voted to adopt the resolution. New York delegates abstained from voting as they waited for instructions from their home state. On the evening of July 2, news of the adopted resolution was published in the Pennsylvnia Evening Post. Thus, the united colonies became the United States.
John Adams wrote a letter to his wife: “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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward foever-more.”
So… if today, July 2, is the true birthday of America’s independence, what was the purpose of the July 4th Declaration of Indedendence? Well, most any public relations company will tell you that if you do a public deed, you should be ready with a public explanation. The Declaration was, pure and simple, an explanation to the world of what happened on July 2, i.e., here is why we did it.