Maybe it was just John Adams' favorite number, but America's second president was a big proponent of a different Independence Day: Specifically, July 2nd, the day that the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, reports CBS News in a bit of an Independence Day history primer. July 4th was the day that Congress passed the Declaration of Independence.
In a letter dated exactly 240 years ago Sunday, he wrote to his wife Abigail that "I believe that (July 2nd) will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival ... 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." The Fourth of July eventually proved fatal for Adams, who died on that day in 1826—the nation's 50th Independence Day, and the very day on which Thomas Jefferson died. (Read more Fourth of July stories.)