you were wrong

You Were Wrong: Fourth of July Edition

What else was John Adams wrong about? Democracy? Photo: Painting by Asher B. Durand/U.S. Navy Photo

Welcome to the second installment of You Were Wrong, a feature in which we ensure that pundits and Founding Fathers receive credit for their failed predictions.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a day in which Americans celebrate their independence from the British with fireworks and grilling, the method of cooking meat most hated by King George III. But not everyone thought July 4 would become an important day in American history. Let’s take a look at who was wrong about July 4.

John Adams, you were wrong:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha [day], 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 solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

And that’s it. Just Adams.

Adams’s prediction, which he made in a letter to his wife on July 3, 1776, probably made total sense at the time: Even though the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, the colonies officially broke from Great Britain on July 2, when Congress approved a brief resolution of independence. Nevertheless, he was wrong. Super wrong.