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Greg Harp | all galleries >> Photo A Day Archive >> 2006 Photo a Day >> July 2006 > Happy July 3rd ~ July 3
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03-JUL-2006 Greg Harp

Happy July 3rd ~ July 3

Spicer, Minnesota

As some of you may know it is a badly kept secret among scholars of American history that nothing much really happened on Thursday, July 4, 1776. (OK, nothing much happened on July 3, 1776 either...)

Although this date is emblazoned on the Declaration, the Colonies had actually voted for independence two days earlier; the document wasn't signed until a month later. When John Adams predicted that the "great anniversary festival" would be celebrated forever, from one end of the continent to the other, he was talking about July 2.

Actually If one date should truly get credit for securing America's independence, it is when the British general John Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga--October 17, 1777.

The battle's significance was more diplomatic than military: shortly after news reached Paris, the French king decided to enter the war on the American side. "If the French alliance and funding hadn't come through at that moment, it's hard to say how much longer we could have held out," says Stacy Schiff, author of "A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America." The American Revolution might have gone down in history as a brief provincial uprising, and the Declaration of Independence as a nice idea.

~ Courtesy of Adam Goodheart

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virginiacoastline07-Jul-2006 02:43
interesting history lesson . . nice to know there was a time when France was nice.
I think we should just go ahead and celebrate . . .every day!!
shatterbug06-Jul-2006 23:09
Nice shot, and thanks for the info!
Neal Nye06-Jul-2006 11:41
Interesting commentary and a nice, bright, colorful shot.
Doug Kessler05-Jul-2006 19:26
Nice tribute, Greg!
royalld05-Jul-2006 16:28
Thanks Greg, I did not know some of that.