John Adams in a letter to Abigail Adams (July 3 1776)
But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America….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.
On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress had passed a resolution of independence for America. The next day, Adams wrote to his wife expressing his optimistic view that the date would go down in history and be cause for great celebrations.
He was off by two days.
After considerable debate, Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and July 4th was quickly established in the American imagination as “Independence Day.”