|John Adams: wrong about July 2|
It was not to be. The American people chose to celebrate the Fourth of July (rather than the Second of July) as the "great anniversary Festival," thanks in large part to the power of the pen. While the Congress formally voted for independence on the Second of July in 1776, it wasn't until two days later that they officially declared the reasons for their independence to the world. They did so, of course, in the form of the Declaration of Independence, authored primarily by Thomas Jefferson. The anniversary of the approval of the Declaration of Independence became "the great anniversary Festival" Adams spoke of, only it was to be celebrated on the Fourth and not the Second.
This turned out to be somewhat of a source of envy for Mr. Adams. When future generations remembered the most significant action of the Second Continental Congress, they would think of Thomas Jefferson thanks to the eloquence of Mr. Jefferson's pen and not John Adams, who probably did more than any other congressional delegate to secure unanimous approval of America's independence.
Fortunately, Adams is remembered for the second most important vote Congress took, that being the selection of George Washington to be the commander of the newly formed Continental Army. That vote was taken in June 1775, and it was that masterstroke which united North and South against Great Britain and gave command of the army to a man they could all trust.
Even though Americans may think of Jefferson in connection with the Fourth of July before they think of Adams, few can dispute the immense role John Adams played in the birth and success of the United States of America.
**To read more about the contributions of John Adams, check out David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize winning John Adams and also his outstanding narrative history of 1776.