July 4, 1776
INDEPENDENCE DECLARED IN PHILADELPHIA
The 2nd Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today, adopted the Declaration of Independence, a statement announcing the 13 American colonies are now independent states.
The Declaration, largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson, comes after more than a year of armed conflict with the “mother country”.
The Declaration of Independence begins with these words:
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, & to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate & equal station to which the Laws of Nature & of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind require that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty & the pursuit of Happiness.”
Most of the remainder of the document is a list of specific charges against His Majesty, King George III of Great Britain.
These charges are listed with the intent to demonstrate the fact that the King has violated colonial rights.
Thomas Jefferson drew on George Mason’s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights & the English Declaration of Rights of 1689.
Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
“Yale Dunlap Broadside”
printed by John Dunlap
July 4, 1962
JFK SPEAKS IN PHILADELPHIA
President John F. Kennedy came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today in celebration of America’s Independence Day.
“To read it today is to hear a trumpet call. For that Declaration unleashed not merely a revolution against the British, but a revolution in human affairs. Its authors were highly conscious of its worldwide implications.”
The President also said the United States views nations of Europe as equal partners in the Atlantic relationship.
JFK & Mayor Tate View Liberty Bell
July 4, 1963
JFK NAMES WINNERS OF 1ST PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM
President John F. Kennedy today announced the recipients of the 1st Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Included among the winners of the medal are singer Marian Anderson, cellist Pablo Casals, jurist Felix Frankfurter, inventor Edwin H. Land & Governor Luis Munoz Martin of Puerto Rico.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
July 4, 1963
CHRISTOPER GEORGE KENNEDY BORN
Mr. & Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy announced today the birth of their 5th son & 8th child, Christopher George Kennedy.
The baby was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston.*
*Today, Christopher George Kennedy, a graduate of Boston College, is president of the Merchandise Mart Properties.
Christopher George Kennedy
July 4, 1963
A COUP IS PLANNED IN SOUTH VIETNAM
CIA officer Lucien Conein was informed today by General Tran Van Don that a coup is in the planning stages against South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.*
*This information would not have been published on this date, but the Kennedy Administration, having great concerns about Diem’s failure to make reforms, sent word that it would not interfere with the coup.
Diem was killed on November 2, 1963.
Diem & Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge
July 4, 1997
NASA’S PATHFINDER LANDS ON THE RED PLANET
NASA announced today that its spacecraft, Pathfinder, has landed on the planet Mars after a journey from Earth of 120 million miles taking 7 months.*
The Planet Mars
Photo from Viking 1 Orbiter
NASA Photo (1980)
*The following day, the 1st remote-controlled, interplanetary rover, named “Sojourner” after civil rights activist Sojourner Truth, began a 30 day mission of sending back information on Martian rock & soil.
“Pathfinder” on Mars
July 4, 1951
KATHLEEN KENNEDY BORN IN CONNECTICUT
Mr. & Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy announced today the birth of their 1st child, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The baby is the 1st grandchild of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. & is named after their late daughter, Kathleen Hartington Cavendish.*
*Kathleen Kennedy (Townsend) is an honors graduate from Harvard, served as Maryland’s Lt. Governor (1995-2003) & continues her practice as an attorney today.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
July 4, 1939
AMBASSADOR KENNEDY PRAISES ROYAL VISIT
US Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. spoke today before the American Society in London.
The ambassador praised the recent visit of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth to the United States.
Kennedy said the Royal couple “have won the hearts of the American people”.
He proceeded to read letters that were sent to him expressing enthusiasm for the Royal visit.
Queen Elizabeth & King George VI
Visiting the Canadian Pavilion
New York World’s Fair (1939)
Library & Archives of Canada
July 4, 1863
VICKSBURG FALLS TO THE UNION
Just as General Robert E. Lee’s army is in retreat from defeat at Gettysburg, the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi fell into Union hands today.
The city has been under siege for many weeks.
President Lincoln said:
“And now the Father of Waters goes unvexed to the sea.*
*It is said that the people of Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for the next 100 years.
Siege of Vicksburg
Painting by Kurz & Allison (1888)
Library of Congress Photo
July 4, 1826
ADAMS & JEFFERSON DIE HOURS APART
On this the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, two of the men most instrumental in its existence died today just hours apart.
John Adams of Massachusetts & Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, both former Presidents of the United States, died just hours apart.
John Adams last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives”, but he did not know that his old friend & sometimes adversary had passed away a few hours before.
Franklin, Adams & Jefferson
Committee to Draft
the Declaration of Independence