The Second of July

Prepared by Stephen M. Lawson

(who has another reason to celebrate the Second of July)

Old Glory

"The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. . . . 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."

--John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

[Visit the Massachusetts Historical Society for full text and images of the Adams letter.]

Without the Second of July there would be no Fourth of July.

Resolution adopted July 2, 1776

Resolved: That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the british crown and that all political connection between them and the state of great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved.

The resolution, introduced June 7, 1776, was unanimously adopted the Second of July, with 12 colonies voting 'aye' and New York abstaining, "courteously."

The vote recorded

The resolution for independancy agreed to July 2, 1776.

Dunlap Broadside number 24


Only after the unanimous approval of the Resolution for Independence on the Second of July could debate be held on the wording of the Declaration of Independence. The text was approved, as amended, on the Fourth of July. That night, and into the next morning, printed broadsides were prepared by John Dunlap for distribution to the thirteen colonies turned states. Twenty-five Dunlap Broadsides are known to exist.

[This copy of the Dunlap Broadside was purchased at a flea market in 1989 for $4.00, hidden in a frame behind a torn painting on canvas. On June 13, 1991, it was sold at a Sotheby's auction for $2,420,000, and on June 29, 2000, it was re-sold at a Sotheby's auction for $8,140,000.]


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Modified: 7/7/05