Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy July 2nd (Independence Day)

The Second of July is the date in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain.

The celebration of the Fourth is actually two days late, commemorating not independence, but the passing of the formal resolution known today as the Declaration of Independence. The actual act of secession happened on the Second.

Here is a snippet from a famous letter from John Adams (delegate from Massachusetts who would later become the second president of the United States) to his wife Abagail, written on the 3rd, the day after Congress broke ties with the mother country:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized 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 forever more.

The clip above from the musical 1776 incorporates some of the wording in a dramatized version of Adams' letter home.

The play and film 1776 is not entirely historically accurate, but it does capture the spirit of the tensions and big personalities that led to American Independence. There are also some catchy tunes and clever turns of phrase. This time of year might be a good time to review the movie and ponder why we Americans, each and every year, continue to celebrate our separation from a centralized, overbearing government with "pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations" and why we should continue to see the value of political independence and liberty.

Below is another clip from the movie, dramatizing more exchanges between John and Abagail Adams and the latter's frustrations with Congress.

Happy Independence Day!

1 comment:

Dave Lambert said...

Happy 2nd of July to you and your family!