The History behind the fourth

The History behind the fourth

A less than deep dive into some of the history that makes this day so special.

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As the 4th of July has passed us this year, many have wondered, "is this really what the forefathers wanted?"

The short answer is yes, BUT DON'T YOU TOTALLY WANT TO FIND OUT WHY???

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No?

Well, you already clicked on this page so you might as well read it. I did spend some time on it and I am definitely generalizing history so that it can be consumed really easily.

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Even though the 4th of July is generally considered Independence Day, Congress actually voted to pass the Declaration of Independence on the 2nd. The 4th is just when the colonies accepted it and for real, did we really need to ask them?

(Fun fact: the New York delegation actually opposed the Declaration at first, abstaining in the first vote.)

John Adams was actually quite mad about the celebrations being on the fourth as it was passed in Congress on the second.

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Adams would actually turn down invitations to celebrate on the fourth and even go so far as to die before celebrating on that day. ("Not if I die first" – Thomas Jefferson)

Honestly, if you really want to get technical about it, Richard Harvey Lee made the motion for independence on June 7th earlier that year.

Do I think we are going to change a national holiday on semantics?

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After much debate, Congress appointed a five-man committee that included:

Thomas Jefferson, the guy who apparently did most of the work.

John Adams, the guy who was mad all the time.

Roger Sherman, who now has two cities named after him (way to go Sher).

Robert R. Livingston, he has his own stamp! And,

Benjamin Franklin, the guy who was so bored, he tried to fly a kite in a storm.

(Honestly, if he had gotten struck by lightning and died, how long do you think that would have set us back? Or maybe pushed us forward, who knows? I was always more of a Tesla fan, and not just because of the pigeon thing)

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These guys wrote an English paper so well that now we celebrate it. (My last English paper only got me a B.)

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On a public opinion note, most colonists in 1775 actually opposed a full break from Britain.

Yet, thanks to growing hostility from the British and works like 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine, public opinion changed quite quickly.

Now let's move on to celebrations!

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In a letter from Adams to Abigail, John Adams wrote:

'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.'

As it turns out, when the declaration was being read to the people for the first time, many began to party, fire rifles into the air, and hold bonfires and parades.

Adams was right, and so were we. Illuminations from sea to sea.

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While parties were held at the first readings of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia has the honor of the first Commemoration on July 4th, 1777, during the war.

(Some would say a bit too early to celebrate but don't worry. I think our heroes will be okay.)

George Washington actually got into the spirits (literally) when he issued Double rations of rum to all his soldiers in 1778 and 1781 on the 4th.

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This tradition of rum and good times dates back to 1776 so try not to disappoint.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcleod/14606864023

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26 Of The Most American Things Ever

Because...'Murica.
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It's no secret that America is one of the most visited and most loved places in the world. From Alabama to Wyoming, the United States of America has something going on in every state with something for everyone to enjoy. Some of those things are more iconic than others. Here are 26 of the most iconic American things ever:

1. Baseball.

2. Apple pie.

3. Mount Rushmore.

4. Our welcome sign.

5. NASCAR.

6. BBQs.

7. Camping.

8. Country music.

9. Reality TV.

10. Sweet tea.

11. Groundhog Day.

12. Stephen Colbert.

13. Shark Week.

14. Fireworks.

15. Pickup trucks.

16. The Superbowl.

17. John Wayne movies.

18. Boy/Girl Scouts.

19. PB&J sandwiches.

20. Uncle Sam.

21. Captain America.

22. Blue jeans.

23. Beer.

24. John Deere.

25. Coca Cola.

26. McDonald's.

Cover Image Credit: Web-Images.ChaCha

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We Need to Forget About Advertising And Bring Back Small-Town-Style Parades

What makes small-town parades special

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Today it seems most parades are extended commercials; each business uses their own float as an advertisement but it seems the foundation of a modern parade should be more than just a consumer's buffet. The Chatham Fourth of July Parade in Cape Cod, MA is considered one of the last small-town American parades.

What makes the small-town American parade special is its emphasis on community. I've had the luxury of walking in the Chatham Fourth of July Parade for three years now and every year there is a theme that somehow relates to their town, it is town pride.

What's special about this small-town parade is the passion its participants have. It's not a hundred professionals, strangers to each other working to put up the big inflatable snoopy or the muppets float like the Thanksgiving day parade. The focus of the parade is not one big celebrity people could only dream of having a conversation with. The small-town parade is average people with average jobs coming together to create something not even close to average.

All of the locals in town work on their own float for what they are representing, like a small business or theatre troupe or ice cream shop. It's a small-town, most of the people in the parade know each other and lend each other materials or ideas. Technically the Chatham parade is a competition, each float competing for a plaque and some publicity but that's not why all of these people come out to participate.

It's not to win, or to show-off their businesses or events show how fancy their float is. It's to have fun and to make the spectators have fun. It is a time to forget the troubles back home and enjoy the people you are watching the parade with. It is an opportunity to live in the moment.

As I walked the parade route, I saw all of the people watching smiling or talking or singing along to each float's music. The kids were all sandwiched in the front row with little bags or frisbees eagerly awaiting the goodies traditionally handed out. It's like Christmas in July for the kids. The parade route is hot, with close to no shade, even just sitting watching is enough to dehydrate for the day and yet nobody seems to care.

Everyone is still smiling. The point of a parade is not to advertise or show-off, the point of a parade is, as the Chatham, Cape Cod parade proves, to bring a community together under a common theme. It doesn't matter if the theme is pride or holidays or any other hundred themes, all that matters is the people of a community are together, supporting each other and having fun.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Favetta

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