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Updated: September 11, 2022

Happy Second of July! On July 2, 1776, the United States of America became independent from Great Britain when the Continental Congress approved a resolution declaring That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. The resolution had been introduced almost a month earlier by Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia. When the vote was held on July 2, twelve of the colonies voted in favor; New York abstained. John Adams expected that 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 solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Adams accurately predicted how future Americans would celebrate their nations independence, but not when. Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence, the public announcement and explanation of Americas separation from Great Britain adopted by Congress on July 4, came to overshadow Lees resolution and the official vote for independence that occurred two days earlier. Learn more about Richard Henry Lee and his revolutionary resolution in our blog post:

Image: The Manner in which the American Colonies Declared themselves Independant of the king of England, engraved by George Noble after William Hamilton (London: Printed for the author, and pub. by A. Hogg, 1783).

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