Happy Fourth of July to our American friends and listeners, and all of the tourists from south of the border visiting the Capital today. Did you know that American Independence Day was almost celebrated on July 2nd, the day John Adams thought should be celebrated?
It’s now generally accepted that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on the Fourth of July. That’s just the day the document was formally dated, finalized, and adopted by the Continental Congress, which had officially voted for independence on July 2nd. Early printed copies of the Declaration were signed by John Hancock and secretary Charles Thomson to be given to military officers and various political committees, but the bulk of the other 54 men signed an official larger print version on August 2nd, with others to following at a later date. John Hancock (boldly) signed his name again on the updated version.
So technically, the Fourth of July represents the adoption of the Declaration, not the signing of it.
Image source: http://navylive.dodlive.mil/