What happened on this day in 1776? The 13 American colonies, each independent states, seceded from Great Britain.
Jefferson, like all the other founders, understood that the states were all free, independent, and sovereign; that the union was a pragmatic compact between the free and independent states; that the federal government was delegated certain powers by the states for their benefit; and that the citizens of any state had the right to resume those powers should they decide that the union was no longer in their best interest. There was nothing “mystical” or magical or “perpetual” about it. As Jefferson wrote in the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:
“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; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other things which independent states may of right do.”
To Thomas Jefferson July 4th was always Happy Secession Day.