To many of us the 4th of July is only about hotdogs and fireworks. In 1776, however, it was a very different story. John Adams describes the moment:
“Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America… A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States…”
The [4th] of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.”-John Adams
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations… evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government…” -Declaration of Independence
“Determined hold your independence; for, that once destroyed, unfounded freedom is a morning dream.” -Samuel Adams
James Still, JamesStill@RetraceOurSteps.com
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” -John Adams