Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Independence Day, July 2

"The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America," John Adams wrote to his wife. "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival." July 2, after all, was the day that the colonies voted for independence. There was plenty of drama that day. Caesar Rodney of Delaware rode 80 miles through the night to arrive in time to vote (this is the depiction on the state quarter). His appearance shocked the hall. John Dickinson, the most forceful voice in opposition to independence, and Robert Morris sat out the day, leaving the Pennsylvania united for a break with England. South Carolina announced it was off the fence and stood firmly for independence. Following a unit rule 12 states voted in favor and 1, New York, abstained. The official declaration, however, caused more discussion, primarily over Thomas Jefferson's language condemning slavery. On July 4, by the same vote, the revised Declaration of Independence received approval and that is the day we celebrate with fireworks and BBQs. Although it is easy to mock Adams for making such an emphatic statement that has proven emphatically wrong, he was a a great patriot and champion for American independence who worked as hard, if not harder, than anyone to produce the glorious results of July 2.

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