Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July with barbecues, parades, marching bands, and fireworks. But in earlier times, the day was also marked by specially prepared orations that commemorated our founding principles. A wonderful example of this at once celebratory and reflective genre can be found in the present selection, a speech that President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) delivered in 1926 in honor of the Declaration’s sesquicentennial.
July 3, 2013
On July 4, 1776, two days after it adopted the Lee Resolution that declared the united colonies’ independence from Great Britain, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), which explains that decision by “declar[ing] the causes which impel them to the separation.”
July 2, 2013
From our Independence Day ebook: Read these famous songs of the Revolutionary War period, and learn what role music played in the shaping of the country as it evolved from 13 struggling colonies into a nation. Each song selection includes questions for class discussion.
July 1, 2013
What is the legacy of the Declaration of Independence and its self-evident truths of equal and unalienable rights? Our new ebook, “The Meaning of Independence Day,” explores the history and ideas behind the American Founding and their significance for our present personal freedoms and national flourishing.
April 19, 2013
On April 19, 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first military engagements of the Revolutionary War, were fought. These battles would inspire Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous poem, “Concord Hymn,” which he wrote for the July 4, 1837 dedication of a memorial obelisk commemorating the fight at Concord.
April 18, 2013
On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere, a Boston silversmith, was asked by Joseph Warren to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British troops were marching to arrest them. After crossing the Charles River by rowboat, he rode to Lexington, alerting patriots along the way. Revere got word to Adams and Hancock, but was captured by a British Army patrol on his way to Concord. Revere … Read more »
January 29, 2013
On January 29, 1737, Thomas Paine was born in Norfolk, England. In 1774, he moved to London, where he met Benjamin Franklin, who suggested that he consider emigrating to America. Taking Franklin’s advice (and his letter of introduction), Paine arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774. Soon thereafter he became a citizen of Pennsylvania and, in January of 1775, took up the editorship of Pennsylvania Magazine.
On January 10, 1776, … Read more »
November 26, 2012
Over at City Journal, Myron Magnet has a new article that reminds us just how incredible the American founding was. “That so many great men came together at that time and place to do such great deeds,” he writes, “is one of history’s most thought-provoking miracles.”
Comparing the success of the American revolution with the failures of the French and Russian revolutions, Magnet argues that “a key reason the [American] revolution … Read more »
October 26, 2012
On October 26, 1774, the First Continental Congress petitioned King George III with a list of grievances, seeking his assistance to provide to the colonists their rights as English citizens. The letter was signed by fifty-one delegates to the Congress. Writing as “English Freemen” and “the heirs of freedom,” the Congress sought relief from the Coercive Acts, passed by the British Parliament in March of 1774, that the colonists … Read more »