Authentic Antioch

The Real 4th: July 2nd?

Once there was a group of people who sought to control their own destiny and not have it done by an overbearing government. They also wanted independence from Great Britain and were willing to die for it.

Story One

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In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution before the Second Continental Congress declaring, in part, independence from King George, et al.

On July 2nd, the Congress voted on and approved Lee’s Resolution.

The events of that day so moved future president John Adams that he wrote the following to his wife, Abigail, on July 3rd:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, 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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

However, the text that formally announced the break with England, the Declaration of Independence, was approved two days later, on July 4th, and it was this date that has been celebrated, not the 2nd, ever since. There are, however, a few scattered holdouts who still celebrate the nation’s Independence on the 2nd.

Story Two

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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two of the most important Founders, were colleagues, then bitter enemies and, in their later years, close friends. The patriots were also a part of one of History’s most amazing coincidences.

On July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day since the Declaration of Independence was approved, John Adams lie upon his deathbed. His last words uttered were, “Jefferson lives!”

Unbeknownst to Adams, a few hours earlier at his home in Monticello, also on July 4th, 1826, Thomas Jefferson, too, had died.


Click here for the Village of Antioch’s Fourth of July Schedule of Events.

Happy Birthday USA!