The Framers and the Fourth: Criticism Of Independence Day Celebrations Ignores Our Collective HistoryPosted: July 5, 2017
Every Fourth of July, some celebrity will attract national attention by denouncing the holiday as a type of slaver’s celebration. This year was no exception. In past years, I have said nothing because these comments reflect understandable conflicted feelings by African Americans and others whose ancestors lived through decades of oppression and discrimination. However, it is time to put part of this criticism to rest . . . at least in part. There is a tendency to ignore those Framers who advocated emancipation at our founding and the recognition of the scourge of slavery that would forever taint our history.
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Source: Mental Floss
Writing for a website called The Zinn Education Project, the teacher, Bill Bigelow, also manages to criticize American firework displays on the Fourth of July because “the United States is waging war with real fireworks around the world.”
“…Bigelow then gets to the real reason for his rant, which is to criticize American middle-school and high-school history and social studies curricula for not being sufficiently leftist or revisionist”
Bigelow claims that “U.S. drone attacks have killed at least 2,600 people in five countries, including as many as 247 children” since 2001. He also charges that the Iraq War began in 2003 with “shock and awe” – which is a lot like fireworks, sort of – and has created “seemingly endless internecine fighting.”
For Bigelow, it somehow follows, in the very same paragraph even, that “[t]he pretend war of celebratory fireworks thus becomes part of a propaganda campaign that inures us – especially the children among us – to current and future wars half a world away.”
While stopping short of telling a bunch of damn kids to get off his lawn, the obscure Portland, Ore. teacher further bellyaches that fireworks create too much noise, cause injuries, start fires and can even lead to lung inflammation. Read the rest of this entry »
More from the 4th of July links
Washington College professor John Conkling, who is the former director of the American Pyrotechnics Association and the co-author of Chemistry of Pyrotechnics, breaks down the science of fireworks and offers a laboratory demonstration of various color fuels in action.
1. On July 4, 1776, the United States declared itself an independent nation.
This is almost true, but the timing is a tad off. According to the historical record, we should be celebrating Independence Day on July 2, the day Congress finally approved the motion made by Richard Henry Lee on June 7: “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.”[i]
The following day, July 3, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:
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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.[ii]
Adams certainly got the spirit right, even if the date he proffered turned out to be wrong. How was he to know that even the most patriotic Americans would fail to recognize the true anniversary of independence? On July 4, the second day after it declared the United States to be an independent nation, Congress approved a document that explained its reasons. As so often happens in history, representation of the event would have more staying power than the event itself.
2. Congress initiated the move toward independence.
Historian Pauline Maier has uncovered 90 sets of instructions by state and local bodies, each telling its representatives in higher bodies (ultimately, the Continental Congress) to declare independence. Several of these documents, written in the three months preceding Congress’s vote for independence, listed the same complaints and expressed the same principles that the Congressional Declaration of Independence eventually did.[iii]
[Check out Ray Raphael‘s book Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past at Amazon.com]
Earlier yet, on October 4, 1774, the town of Worcester instructed its delegate to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress “to exert yourself in devising ways and means to raise from the dissolution of the old constitution, as from the ashes of the Phenix, a new form, wherein all officers shall be dependent on the suffrages of the people, whatever unfavorable constructions our enemies may put upon such procedure.”[iv] This was indeed a declaration for independence. The new government would be formed without seeking the consent of existing British authorities, and since it would be based exclusively on the “suffrages of the people,” there could be no place for monarchical prerogatives, as there had been under British rule. Read the rest of this entry »