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The FYI on America's Independence Day in 1776

Updated on July 4, 2012
A Map of the British Colonies in America
A Map of the British Colonies in America

Is July 4th the Correct Date?

Most Americans or immigrants think that America's independence from England in 1776 has been a national holiday since that time. Wrong, sort of. Yes, celebrations have occurred since, BUT it was not until 1941 that July 4th became a mandatory national holiday. Most think that on July 4th, 1776, the 13 states that comprised of America then, all signed and approved of the Declaration of Independence. Not true. On July 2nd, most of the states had agreed minus New York, which abstained. John Adams wrote that July 2nd will be the day to celebrate. However, it took time to inform the other states, so it was not until July 8th until newspapers made public announcements proclaiming it in Philadelphia. On July 9th, the announcement was finally given to George Washington in New York to declare it to his army. A statute of King George III was immediately torn down like American soldiers did with Saddam Hussein's in Iraq.

It was not until July 25th, that the document with the announcement finally was made public in Williamsburg, VA, The State of Georgia finally got word publicly in early August. It was not until August 2, 1776, that all 50 representatives of America actually signed and agreed to it-bar one. That man was Thomas McKean. He did not sign it until January, 1777!

So what did happen on July 4th? Nothing much. The U.S. Congress simply drew up a sketch design for the "seal of the United States of America" which could not be agreed upon in the end, except for the Latin phrase, "E pluribus unum" (out of many, one). That endures still today.

America's population at that time comprised of 60% from England, and 40% from other European nations. It was a mostly upper class and many wealthy made $1000 a year (today, it would be $100,000). Dentists made little money, and if you traveled only 200 miles from the shoreline inland, you would be in back country with local indians.

As you can see, July 4th was only the day Congress agreed to declare independence from England, it was not the day when all had signed the document. August 2nd would be that day!


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