Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776
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The Continental Congress resolved on 2 July 1776 "That these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States." In this letter written a day later, John Adams reflected on the event and tried to sum up what it meant for Americans of his own time and in the future. On 4 July the corrected and approved text of the Declaration of Independence was printed for distribution. It is the latter date that Americans celebrate with "Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations."