Event

Independence Day

Image

Photo: Vince Alongi, Flickr

Share this post!

The holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual vote by the Continental Congress was two days earlier, which is why 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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. 

"You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address often titled "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" In this speech, he contrasted the freedom celebrated by his listeners to the slavery experienced by his people. 

He said, "Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic... I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory....

...Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? 

...Notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country... I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from "the Declaration of Independence," the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age... Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe.... Space is comparatively annihilated... The fiat of the Almighty, 'Let there be Light,' has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light."

Roscoe
Rockton, IL 61072
United States

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified
Spam
Offensive

Replies