On 2 July 1776, the former American colonies of Great Britain seceded and became independent. No that's not a typo: July 2nd 1776.
Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed independence on 7 June 1776, and his Resolution was immediately seconded by John Adams of Massachusetts. The Second Continental Congress decided to delay a vote on the ﬁrst clause of Lee’s Resolution until 1 July 1776.
The vote was officially conducted on the second of July --- twelve of the thirteen colonies voted "aye", with only New York abstaining. (The New York convention joined the other twelve colonies on 9 July 1776, adopting the Resolution AND the Declaration).
Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, wrote:
"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 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."
This is the text of Lee's RESOLUTION OF INDEPENDENCE voted upon on 2 July 1776, which was the Congress's official action with respect to the colonies' Independence (original depicted above):
Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
So what happened on July 4, 1776? Check back in a couple of days and find out how the Founding Fathers reached a "mediated settlement agreement" of the language of TJ's first draft of the DECLARATION of Independence ...