by Wally Parke
On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. A draft of the document was submitted on July 2nd and the next couple of days saw edits and changes that all involved could agree on. The American Revolution, having begun in April of 1775, was already more than a year underway.
Interestingly the Declaration of Independence was not signed until August. That signed handwritten copy is displayed at the National Archives in Washington D.C. But the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence was July 4th, 1776. July 4th is also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, which are the original printed copies of the Declaration that were distributed throughout the newly formed nation. So July 4th, 1776 is the date that people associated with the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence did not always have the revered status we attribute to it today. For the first 20 years or so after the document was published no one paid too much attention to it as it was new and there were a lot of things happening in our new nation. Then in the late 1700’s, due to partisan politics, the Democrat-Republicans admired the Declaration, while the Federalists party did not.
After the war of 1812 things changed and the Declaration was taking on more importance. In 1870, nearly 100 years after the Declaration was written, Congress declared July 4th to be a national holiday along with several holidays, including Christmas.
Pohl Transportation wishes everyone a safe and happy July 4th!