I recently finished reading the book John Adams by David McCullogh, therein it is mentioned that it was actually July 2nd in which the Declaration of Independence was accepted and signed. In fact July 4th was the day it was “officially” released, but very few representatives actually attended congress that day; it was virtually a day off. This is what John Adams had to say in his journal about July 2nd:
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. 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.
By the way, I am not writing this to disparage July 4th, I just think that this was an interesting bit of history. Besides the fact that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same July 4th would not have the same impact if independence day were July 2nd.