Today marks the 233rd anniversary of the day the US Continental Congress voted unanimously for Independence from Great Britain. John Adams wrote to Abigail,
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, with I trust in God We shall not. [transcription from Pastor and People]
Two days later the actual document of their declaration went to the printer, and we wound up celebrating that day thanks to a lifetime of campaigning by one T. Jefferson (up to and including his and Adams’s well-coordinated deaths on July 4, 1826).
But I always like to give a little pump of the fist for this, the day the Founders thought would go down in history. Because while life may be nasty, brutish, and short, and while “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed,” government can and does sometimes do wonderful, astonishing things.
I’m a lot more attached to the Constitution [Madison and Hamilton party!] than I am to the Declaration of Independence, but you can trust me when I say that this weekend there will be a little bit of 1776, a little bit of John Adams, and a whole lot of revolutionary geekery.