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My Take

Fourth of July

Mark McGee
Posted 7/2/22

Fireworks. Cookouts. Baseball games. Concerts. Family trips. Like Christmas we sometimes forget what July 4th all is about.  

The Fourth of July has been a special day in the founding of our …

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My Take

Fourth of July

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Fireworks. Cookouts. Baseball games. Concerts. Family trips. Like Christmas we sometimes forget what July 4th all is about.  

The Fourth of July has been a special day in the founding of our country since the city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was formulated and signed, on July 4, 1777. And yes, there were fireworks.  

This celebration was much to the dismay of John Adams, a signer and later the second president of the United States.  

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee made the motion calling for the independence of the American colonies. A committee consisting of Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson made changes in the first draft of the Declaration. 

On July 2, the Continental Congress voted to approve Lee’s resolution. Delegates from New York abstained, but later approved the motion, making it unanimous.  

John Adams and his wife, Abigail, corresponded by letter almost every day. Adams wrote to Abigail July 2, we “will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival”.  

Instead, July 4th, the day the Continental Congress voted in favor of adopting the Declaration of Independence, has been the time of celebration.  

However, Congress did not approve the Fourth of July as a federal holiday until 1870. Adams was so incensed he refused invitations to appear at July 4 events.  

Ironically, he and Jefferson, the third president and the main writer of the Declaration of Independence, both died on July 4 , 1826, the 50th anniversary of the approval vote.  

The delegates didn’t sign the document until August, and they did not appear as a large group as seen in many paintings commemorating the event. T 

here are many theories about why John Hancock signed his name so large.  

A popular theory is he said he wanted “that fat old king to be able to read his name without his spectacles”. But according to the National Archives Hancock would have signed his name first and at the center because he was the president of the Continental Congress.  

Each signer of the Declaration of Independence was basically committing treason against Great Britain. If captured, they could have been tortured in a number of ways. They were risking their lives and their property in support of independence.  

In the middle of all of the hoopla we should all pause to remember what each of them risked.  

This column includes information from History. com’s 2009 article on the American Revolution, john-hancock-heritage.com and Ben’s Guide.com.  

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