Some historians claim that the actual legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Britain occurred on July 2. Why? In one of his many famous letters to his wife Abigail, John Adams wrote that “the second day of July, 1772, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America…to be solemnized with pomp and parade.”
Well, a closed session of the Continental Congress did approve the colonies’ separation on July 2. However, the actual document was declared to need a few minor revisions, and twelve colonies formally adopted it two days later, on July 4. It thus became the date of celebration.
To add more fuel to the fireworks, others claim the actual signing wasn’t completed until August 2, 1776. Nearly a month later. This is because the thirteenth colony, New York, didn’t approve the declaration until July 19, with the official signing on August 2.
Let’s stick with the Fourth. On this date, July 4, 1826, the author of the document and our second president, Thomas Jefferson, died…as well as his rival and friend, third president John Adams. Just hours apart.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was only 33 years old when he wrote the Declaration.
Some other notable Thomas Jefferson accomplishments: After fire destroyed the Library of Congress, he sold his personal library to Congress in 1815 to replace it. He spent his retirement at his marvel, Monticello, and from there, designed the University of Virginia.
John Adams (1735-1826) had earned enormous unpopularity when, in 1770, he defended the British soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre. He had the good sense to marry Abigail Smith, who was so modern-thinking she had her children inoculated, controversially, against smallpox. Her devoted correspondence with her husband, (and Jefferson) is legendary, and she is considered one of America’s most influential first ladies. One of their notable accomplishments is producing our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, whose term 1825-1829 began in time for his dad to see it.
In 1831, the third president in a row died on the fourth of July, James Monroe, our fifth commander in chief, who was born in 1758. His two-term presidency (1817-1825) is known in America’s history as the “Era of Good Feelings”, a time of peace after the War of 1812.
God bless America!
(P.s. I have a new release already available on Amazon with print version out on July 12, so I’ll talk about that next time and give some copies away in a few weeks.)