Saturday, July 02, 2011

Independence Day

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress declared the colonies to be free and independent states. That July 4th thing? That's the day they adopted the Declaration of Independence. They ordered the document to be printed. Then, on July 19th they ordered that it be engrossed (formally printed for signature), then they waited for the engrossers to do their thing. They signed it on August 2nd.

This is properly the holiday weekend. We current Americans, we who are spoiled to instant communication and WYSWYG printing aren't familiar with the concept that it might take days or weeks to get a document from one place to another. There wasn't any Xerox machine in those days, no faxes, no phones. If you wanted a document, someone had to set the type and print it. If you wanted a document formally engrossed, guys sat down with pens and parchment and wrote it out by hand.

But, today is the day we declared independence by adopting the Lee Resolution.

On this day in 1863, Henry Lee's kinfolks, Bobby, launched attacks against the Union flank at Gettysburg. He sent Ewell to hit the fish hook, with Hill demonstrating against the center. His main thrust was with Longstreet and John Bell Hood against the southern flank. On top of a small hill, the 20th Maine stands wondering what's going to happen next. Before the day is over, Joshua Chamberlain will have won a Medal of Honor.


Anonymous said...

The resolution on July 2 is they "ought" to be. The ought became is on July 4.

Old NFO said...

Good post, and I wonder how many even know about the Lee Resolution in school today?

Pawpaw said...

Anonymous - The Lee Resolution says: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

The verbage "are" and word #4 and "is" following "Great Britain" are both verbs of the present tense.

Nossir, the Continental Congress declared independence on July 2nd.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes, I am not a congressional historian regarding that a Resolution defines time and record versus the vote on the Declaration itself.

Since the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, this became known as Independence Day.

I thought there would be more comments on the previous post.