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(Shutterstock/Pindyurin Vasily)

Happy 4th of July! Or, for you history buffs who believe patriot, Declaration advocate and our second president John Adams had it right the first time, Happy 2nd of July! Or for those who think nothing is official until completely signed, sealed and delivered, Happy August 2nd! Or for those who argue that printing and signing is secondary to actual release to the public, Happy July 8th!

Why the discrepancies? Congress actually approved independence from Britain on July 2, 1776, and John Adams wrote his wife that the date would henceforth be celebrated as the great American holiday. Absent ready access to desktop publishing software or Twitter, it took two days for the resolution to be drafted and printed for the first signatures, hence the document date of July 4. It wasn’t read to the public for the first time until July 8. Because not all delegates were present in July, the last signatures were not placed on the document until August 2.

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