John Trumbell’s Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776 marks the birth of our great and blessed nation. Amid the Revolutionary War that waged in the original thirteen colonies from the year 1775 to 1783, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 1st, 1776 to put in place the Declaration of Independence. By July 2nd, those present (our founding fathers) voted to approve a resolve for independence, which was later finalized in writing on July 4th, 1776. On July 3rd, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, in which he said:

“The second day 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 forever more,” (Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams—Massachusetts Historical Society).

Even though Adam’s prediction was off by a couple of days, it was, nonetheless, very prophetic in its scope, and right on target. The fourth of July is, and has been for years, commemorated with “pomp and parade” with “shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations [like fireworks].” Thank you for joining us and so many others in celebrating this great holiday, and may your Fourth of July be a grand and memorable one.

From all of us here at VLCM

Massachusetts Historical Society