Independence Day in the United States is a celebration of the formal breakup with the British monarchy. But like a lot of political decisions on this side of the pond, it was a decision that caused a lot of debate. For example, during the discussion on whether to declare independence, Maryland was one of four colonies to hold out. The others were New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Here are five other historical notes about the declaration:

  • The preamble of what would become the beginning of the Declaration of Independence passed on May 15, 1776.
  • On June 11, 1776, the “Committee of Five” was appointed to draft a declaration. Committee members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. They completed the draft on June 28, 1776.
  • The Continental Congress debated the draft on July 1-2, 1776. New York and South Carolina were still holdouts, and the two Deleware representatives were deadlocked. This lead to the historical ride of Caesar Rodney, who rode 80 miles to Philadelphia to vote in favor of independence.
  • After Thomas Jefferson made the final agreed upon corrections to the document, the Continental Congress approved the draft on July 4, 1776, with 12 votes. Only New York abstained since they did not have the authority from their government.
  • The final signatures were added on August 2, 1776. Since New York approved the resolution of independence on July 10, the New York delegation is included amongst the signatures.

Although we celebrated the birth of the nation in 1776, the new country was not recognized until 1783 when the two nations signed the Treaty of Paris.


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