July 4th Fact July Fourth is the day Americans celebrate the nation's independence from Great Britain. That might surprise Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. Jefferson wrote to his wife, Abigail, the next day:The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.But the Continental Congress didn't approve Jefferson's declaration until July 4, leading to the popular association of the Fourth of July with the official date of independence. By the way, the Declaration of Independence wasn't signed by most Congressional delegates until Aug. 2, 1776.