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A nod to historical accuracy

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 02, 2003

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

The document was signed on July 4, and so-- confounding the prediction of John Adams-- the latter date is now celebrated as America's Independence Day.

Fair enough; signing sealed the document. (And with fresh news of British military triumphs In New York raising the real possibility that the members of the Continental Congress would soon face the gallows, signing the document was no small step.) So it makes perfect sense to celebrate on the 4th of July. And I shall.

But on July 2, I always raise a toast, and a prayer of thanksgiving, for the founding fathers who won that critical vote.

And I'm proud to recall that Adams, who did more than anyone else to ensure passage of that resolution, was, like me, raised in Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

(For extra credit: Name the four US presidents born in Norfolk County.)

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 03, 2003 11:41 PM ET USA

    Some Americans need to read U.S. history, written by non-Americans. Also to read U.S. history, written in languages other than English, if they can. These two exercises would help restore balance, perspective. U.S. historians are too often blindly chauvinistic. How many know the fanatically anti-Catholic writings of Adams, JEFFERSON, Madison, Monroe ? That the true purpose of the "Monroe Doctrine" was: "destroy the Catholic Church in Latin American and replace it with Masonry"?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 03, 2003 3:40 AM ET USA

    John Adams absolutely HATED the Catholic Church. Consult his writings. A principle reason for the American Revolution: with the Quebec Act of 1774 George 3 gave freedom of religion to Catholics North of the Ohio River, between the Appalachian Mts. and the Mississippi. Quebec people knew this caused the revolt in MA, and thus refused to join the revolution.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2003 2:11 PM ET USA

    I would add that the actual vote in Congress to publish the Declaration was on July 5, but it was included with the journal of July 4th's proceedings, and thus July 4 was the "release date" of the Declaration. I believe there is some dispute about what happened on the July 4th, if anything. And it initially bore just the signatures of John Hancock, the President, and Charles Thomson, the Secretary.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2003 1:52 PM ET USA

    Phil, a small correction-- the docment was actually signed on August 2, 1776. And several of the signatures were not added for several months thereafter. You are correct that the resolution was adopted on July 2. Historians are not entirely clear on what happened on July 4, 1776. There are no records from Congress of that day. The Norfolk County Presidents: John Adams (Braintree) JQ Adams (Braintree) JF Kennedy (Brookline) George HW Bush (Milton)

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