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Independence Day
Stan St. Clair

We Americans celebrate the Fourth of July each year as Independence Day. But July 4, 1776 wasn’t actually the day the Continental Congress decided to declare our independence. That was July 2. 

So, was that the day the revolution started? Nope! That was all the way back in April 1775. 

What about the day Thomas Jefferson drew up the draft? Well, that was in June of 1776. The day it was signed? No to that also. That was Aug. 2, 1776. And it wasn’t delivered to Great Britain until that November!

We didn’t really achieve our independence until Sept. 3, 1783, when the Revolutionary War ended.

OK, confused? So what actually happened on July 4, 1776? 

That is the day the Congress approved the final wording of the draft that was submitted two days earlier. That is why July 4 became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and why we celebrate it as Independence Day.

But it wasn’t even considered for a celebration until the 1790s and didn’t become a national holiday until 1870, almost 100 years later.

Now you know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would have said. 

This expression has become more than just the name we call this great day. People now refer to any time a group of people or even an individual is delivered from slavery, injustice, or oppression as their independence day.

If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at (931) 212-3303 or email him at