Americans Remember Independence Day … Incorrectly
July 4, 1776, was the day early American leaders signed the Declaration of Independence and ended the colonies' political relationship with Britain.
Well ... the real story is a little more complicated.
It starts a year and a half earlier, in April 1775, when American colonists began fighting with British soldiers. At the time, most colonists just wanted more independence, not complete independence.
But as the fighting continued, public opinion changed. By the summer of 1776, more and more people supported a complete break from Britain.
In June, the colonial government met in Philadelphia.
One of the representatives, Richard Henry Lee from Virginia, called for a vote on whether the colonies should declare their independence.
The other delegates were not ready to vote. But they agreed to allow five people to write a statement about why the colonies were seeking independence.
On July 2, nine of the thirteen delegates finally voted to accept Lee's proposal for independence.
A delegate from Massachusetts, John Adams, wrote to his wife that future citizens would celebrate July 2 for years to come.
Two days later, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the writing committee presented their Declaration of Independence. The delegates adopted it, and the president of the colonial government, John Hancock, signed it in large letters.
But most of the other delegates did not sign the Declaration of Independence until a few weeks later. Some did not sign it until the following year. And some men who signed it had not even attended the vote in Philadelphia.
Historian Ray Raphael challenges many American historical myths. Raphael says early American leaders did not discuss celebrating the anniversary of the colonies' independence until it was too late. On July 3, 1777, they agreed to honor July 4 as America's birthday.
For well over 200 years, most Americans have marked the day with patriotic and family celebrations.
I'm Jill Robbins.
1.political relationship 政治关系
Our countries have a very important political relationship, which we wish to nurture in the years ahead.
2.At the time 当时
At the time I had fully expected to find work before long.
3.break from 决裂
You need a break from routine.
4.fighting with 与...斗争
They argued to the point of fighting with each other.
1.One of the representatives, Richard Henry Lee from Virginia, called for a vote on whether the colonies should declare their independence.
called for 呼吁
Our policy called for free trade.
The general assessed the situation and called for reinforcement.
2.But they agreed to allow five people to write a statement about why the colonies were seeking independence.
agreed to 同意；认可
The men agreed to go to arbitration to settle their pay claim.
The countries concerned all agreed to sign the convention.
早在一年半之前，也就是1775年4月，美国殖民地居民开始同英国士兵作战 。当时，多数殖民地居民只是想要更独立，而并非完全独立 。
随着斗争不断加剧，民意出现了转折 。1776年夏天，越来越多的人支持彻底同英国决裂 。
来自弗吉尼亚的代表理查·亨利·李（Richard Henry Lee）呼吁就殖民地是否应宣布独立进行投票 。
其它各州代表虽未做好投票准备 。但是他们同意让五人撰写一份关于殖民地为何寻求独立的声明 。
来自马萨诸塞州的代表约翰·亚当斯（John Adams）写信给妻子说，未来公民们将在7月2日这一天庆祝独立 。
两天后，托马斯·杰斐逊（Thomas Jefferson）和撰写委员会的其他人士发表了独立宣言 。各州代表一致通过了这份宣言，殖民地政府主席约翰·汉考克（John Hancock）以大号字体签署了这份宣言 。
但是其他多位代表是在几周之后才签署的独立宣言 。有些人次年才签署独立宣言 。还有一些签署代表甚至没有参加费城投票 。
历史学家雷·拉斐尔（Ray Raphael）曾质疑过很多美国的历史 。拉斐尔表示，早期美国领导人并未及时就庆祝独立的纪念日进行讨论 。1777年7月3日，他们同意把7月4日尊为美国的诞辰 。