Why isn’t July 2 the day to celebrate American independence?

Published 2:03 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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The Declaration of Independence and July Fourth are indelibly linked. But you may need to be an American history buff to know that the link is less direct than it may seem. The Continental Congress declared American independence on July 2, even though the final wording of the Declaration of Independence had yet to be approved. That approval came two days later, which is why American independence is celebrated on July 4. Furthermore, the Declaration of Independence now on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., was not signed on July 4. The signatures on that document, which have been a source of pride for descendants of the signers for centuries, were written on August 2, a full month after the Congress declared its independence from Great Britain. And in a reflection of life in the 18th century, Great Britain did not even receive the declaration until November of 1776.