This marks my third July since coming over to MinnPost, and, just to keep alive a stupid string of persnicketyness, allow to make it the third July 4th of pointing out that it was on July 2 — yes second — of 1776 that the Continental Congress adopted a resolution declaring independence from Britain.
No, the Fourth was also not the day they signed the Declaration of Independence (that happened quite a while later and over many days). July 4 was just the day they stopped making changes in the draft of the Declaration and adopted the final edited text of the document justifying to the world the decision they had taken two days earlier on a resolution by Virginian Richard Henry Lee (who, for various reasons, never gets the credit he deserves stating:
“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.”
Here’s a slightly longer version of the wrong-day-to-shoot-the-firecrackers problem, which notes that no less than John Adams (one of the three main drafters of the Declaration of Independence) wrote home to Abigail on July 3 declaring that for the rest of time, Americans would celebrate July 2 as “the great anniversary festival.”
I also learned this year, listening to an excellent hour of historical chat on MPR, that Jefferson did not write that it was “self-evident” that all men were created equal. Jefferson’s first draft said the truths were ““sacred and undeniable.” Ben Franklin (the third member of the drafting committee) changed it to “self-evident.”