The debate, the vote, the pen! (The water, the towels, the delivery.) The Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence July 2 (not July 4) 1776. New York, which had abstained the day before, having received new instructions voted for independence July 3rd.
The signed Declaration of Independence was published and read publicly with some fanfare July 4, 1776. July 4—not July2—became the date we celebrate Independence as a National holiday.
This You Tube clip from the wonderful HBO 7 episode miniseries documentary “John Adams,” shows the vote taken in the Congress, the reading of the signed Declaration of Independence in the Philadelphia public square July 4, 1776, and the Adams family a few days later.*
*based on David McCullough’s brilliant biography, “John Adams.”