Every American school child learns that the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, commemorates the birth of the United States as an independent nation.  On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. That very day Boston, the hometown of the second President of the United States, John Adams, commemorated the occasion with fireworks and shells set off over Boston Common in an enthusiastic but probably rather unsafe display of patriotism. Boston was also the first city to designate July 4 an official holiday in 1783 but the day did not become a Federal holiday until 1941. While much of the above is familiar to all of us, not many know that John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly protest July 4 celebrations by refusing invitations that occurred on that famous day.  Ironically, long time “frenemies,” John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Learn more about the history and traditions of Independence Day at the History Channel. 


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