On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress amassed in Philadelphia to vote on the formal approval of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote, apart from New York abstaining at first, ended unanimously.
The resolution was originally presented to Congress on June 7th, 1776, but it became apparent that a handful of colonies resented giving consent towards declaring independence just yet. Congress ended up pushing back the vote to July 1st, creating a brief period wherein Congress drafted a committee to formulate an outline for a formal declaration of independence. The committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. Thomas Jefferson, renowned for his standout writing abilities, was selected to fulfill the role of being the designated author of the document which afterwards was conferred to Congress on June 28th, 1776, for review.
When July 1st, 1776, finally came about, the majority was in favor of the resolution, but a portion remained hesitant on the vote. As the topic at hand possessed the utmost seriousness, Congress concluded that a unanimous proclamation for independence was a necessity.
Congress once more delayed the last votes to July 2nd in order to confidently secure their goal. Twelve colonial delegations voted in favor of the declaration, while New York abstained due to their constituents’ stances being unknown. The resolution to break from Great Britain was passed.
John Adams exclaimed that July 2nd would go down in the annals of time as the most memorable day in American history. Instead, the actions that have taken place on this day in history have been somewhat overshadowed by July 4th, 1776, when Thomas Jefferson’s official Declaration of Independence became formally adopted by the Continental Congress.
Truthfully, the people of this great nation should celebrate their precious freedom everyday, because no matter the date, they owe a special thanks to the brave men of 1776.
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