Thursday, July 2, 2015

Some fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

Unanimous approval of independence from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 (except for New York - see below)

The text of the Declaration was ratified on July 4, 1776

The term "Declaration of Independence" is not actually found in our Declaration of Independence

The thirteen colonies and Great Britain had been at war for over a year already by the time the Declaration was adopted

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution to Congress calling for independence from Great Britain, it was seconded by John Adams

On June 11, 1776 Congress appointed a Committee of Five (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson) to draft the document that came to be known as the Declaration

The Committee returned a draft copy to Congress on June 28, 1776

On July 1, a vote was taken by the delegates of the thirteen colonies (though each colony had 2-7 delegates, they debated among themselves to determine the overall vote that represented their colony)

The first round of voting for declaring independence went as follows:

New York: abstained
Delaware: no vote because its two delegates were split on their votes
South Carolina: voted No
Pennsylvania: voted No

The remaining 9 colonies voted Yes to declaring independence.

On July 2 South Carolina reversed its vote. Delegates John Dickinson and Robert Morris abstained allowing the remaining Pennsylvania delegates to vote three-to-two in favor of independence

The arrival of Caesar Rodney as a new delegate for Delaware tipped the scale in favor of independence

New York had to abstain again and were not granted permission to vote for independence until almost a week later

John Adams always believed the date of the vote (July 2) for independence would be commemorated not the day it was announced (July 4)

So, in essence, by the time we celebrate Independence Day on July 4, we have already declared it (July 2)

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