Fourth of July Myths

July 8th, 2013

Now that you have had a chance to unwind from the Fourth of July weekend, consider some common misconceptions about the holiday. While students across America learn about the importance of Independence Day, there are many myths surrounding America’s independence. In an interview with NPR, Ray Raphael, author of Founding Myths, helps to debunk the myths about the Fourth of July.

For instance, did you know that America’s independence was declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, not July 4? After the Continental Congress voted to declare independence, the Pennsylvania Evening Post announced “This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States” the night of July 2. As Raphael explains, “[July 4 is] not the right day to celebrate to celebrate the signing of the Declaration or the right day to celebrate independence. The vote for independence was on July 2, two days before.”

In fact, John Adams famously remarked to Abigail Adams that July 2 “ought to be solemized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.”

July 4 is still a momentous day in America’s history, however. Raphael explains that July 4 was the day Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and is the date marked on the document as it was sent to the various states for review. To learn more about America’s independence, check out our new ebook, “The Meaning of Independence Day.

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