We don't celebrate dependence on the Fourth of July, we celebrate independence." - Ronald Reagan
Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, this is what was happening:
July 1, 1776 John Adams spoke at the Continential Congress to the delegates from the Thirteen Colonies:
July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, reflecting on what he shared in Congress and, with prophetic insight, declared the importance of what had happened the day before:
'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, gun, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.' "
-From America's God and Country by William J. Federer