Benjamin Martin: May I sit with you?
Charlotte Selton: It's a free country. Or at least it will be.
On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted on a resolution of independence proposed by Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee a month earlier. The vote passed with 12 states affirmative and one abstention (New York would not be authorized to vote for independence until one week later).
In a letter to his wife, John Adams predicted that the 2nd of July would become a great American holiday. "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the history of America," he happily wrote.
However, the draft of a formal declaration of independence, which had been written by the Committee of Five with Thomas Jefferson on point, was still under congressional review. Those changes would not be completed for two more days.
A vote on the declaration document would not take place until July the 4th.