Why do we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day, the birth of the United States?
There is plenty of historical debate on the subject.
Valerie Strauss, an education blogger for the Washington Post tackles the subject in an interesting read this week.
July 2, 1776 was the day that the Second Continental Congress, while meeting in Philadelphia, voted to approve a resolution for independence from Britain. However the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, wasn’t adopted until July 4, 1776.
Furthermore, scholars contend that other arguments could be made about the birthdate of the nation based on when signatures of the founding fathers were actually completed. Hint: it didn’t happen in one signing ceremony as John Trumbull’s capitol rotunda painting depicts.
John Hancock, who was the president of the Continental Congress, signed first, right in the middle of the area for signatures. The last delegate to sign, according to the National Archives, is believed to be Thomas McKean of Delaware, some time in 1777.
The city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration was signed, waited until July 8 to celebrate, with a parade and the firing of guns. The Continental Army under the leadership of George Washington didn’t learn about it until July 9.
Also of interest is the date when the British government learned the United States of America had declared its independence. Since it was pre-Twitter and pre-text messaging, it took several weeks longer – actually nearly two months – before England learned of the declaration.
Read the full post at this link.