A Large Audience of White House Staff Members Watch Fourth of July Fireworks from the Grounds at the White House, the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial are Visible in the Background
Nixon White House Photographs
The legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence declaring the United States independent from Great Britain's. After voting for independence, Congress voted for Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author and approved it two days later on July 4. Most historians, however, have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. Since that, Americans celebrate independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.