Similar to how there are often misconceptions about direct mail, there are also misconceptions about the 4th of July and the Declaration of Independence. You might be surprised to learn that America really declared its independence from Britain on July 2nd instead of July 4th, the day we celebrate as the nation’s independence day.
In 1776, Congress appointed a Committee of Five to craft a statement to present to the world to justify the colonies’ independence from Britain while Congress was postponed for three weeks. That committee unanimously appointed Thomas Jefferson as the author and he began writing it on June 11th.
After a round of revisions by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson presented the Declaration to the rest of the committee, and then to the rest of Congress. When Congress resumed on July 1st, the issue of leaving the British Empire was brought to a vote. On July 2nd, the measure to become an independent nation (known as the Lee Resolution) was voted into effect.
Once the resolution passed, Congress immediately began to review the Declaration which Jefferson had penned weeks earlier. While there were some changes and revisions, on the whole the text remained as Jefferson had presented it.
Finally, on the 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence was approved and immediately sent out for print and distribution. So while Congress decided to become independent on July 2nd, the documentation wasn’t ready until two days later.
Regardless of how (or when!) you celebrate America’s independence, we hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July!
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