Two days and two hundred forty years ago, our Continental Congress passed a resolution declaring our independence from Great Britain. One day and two hundred forty years ago, our second president wrote a moving letter to his wife, Abigail. As a then delegate to the Continental Congress, John Adams fervently believed in the right of freedom for every man on earth and he so eloquently described his passion for America’s independence in this letter to his wife.
His words are neither shallow and optimistic nor overly morose and foreboding. Rather, they read as the sincere thoughts of a man who understands not only the cost of real freedom that has written our past, but also the weighty responsibility with which we must carry our future. As our country tries to navigate a volatile election year, and as families prepare to celebrate freedom, independence, and all things red, white, and blue today, we hope you will enjoy this excerpt from John Adam’s letter to his wife as much as we did.
Wishing each of you a safe and happy 4th of July, filled with pomp, parade, bonfires, and illuminations!
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.
-John Adams to his wife, Abigail, July 3, 1776
You can read John Adam’s full letter to his wife, here.