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Today in 1776, the American colonies voted for liberty

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 11:24 a.m. CST

July 2, 1776, the members of the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia for a vote on a resolution offered nearly a month earlier by Richard Henry Lee. His Resolution on Independence stated: 

"Resolved, 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.

“That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

“That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation."

The representatives of New York had not received instructions from their legislature, and abstained from the vote. The lone dissenting vote within the Pennsylvania delegation excused himself from the vote that day.

The result was a unanimous vote for independence. Two days later, a document intended to explain to the European powers why the colonies were dissolving their bonds with Great Britain was adopted.

Founding Father and future President of the United States John Adams was certain July 2 would be a day that would "live in the epochs of history." But the American people chose the day the Declaration of Independence was ratified — July 4 — instead.

So, if you were to begin your Independence Day celebration a little early, we think Adams might have approved.

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