With Independence Day just around the corner, ClassHook wants to share about the significance of this national holiday! The traditional celebration of America’s independence includes parades, patriotic music, firework shows, concerts, bonfires, and barbeques! And of course, the most recognized symbol of this holiday is the American Flag alongside the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
This clip from The Sandlot shows how Fourth of July is commonly celebrated today!
Significance of the Holiday and Modern Celebration
Independence Day, more commonly referred to as “Fourth of July”, signifies the birth of American independence. During the Revolutionary War in 1775, several colonists hoped to gain independence from Great Britain. At the time however, this was considered a radical belief because they were a young nation going into opposition with great power. The spread of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” aided the increasing hostility towards Britain and popularization of the same sentiments that were originally considered to be radical.
To learn more about Paine’s “Common Sense”, view this clip from ClassHook’s library in which Paine explains the American Revolution and makes the case for total independence from Britain.
All of these actions culminated to the event on July 2nd of 1776 in which the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. Two days later on July 4th, delegates from all 13 colonies adopted this as the Declaration of Independence. Though Independence Day was only recognized as a federal holiday since 1941, celebrations have been occurring every year since 1776.
To learn more about Independence Day, take a look at this clip from ClassHook’s library which recalls the history of the holiday as well as some fun facts!
Common Controversies about the Holiday
While the patriotic craze of this holiday is booming every year, there are a great number of people who choose not to celebrate Independence Day. It is apparent that in the monumental Declaration of Independence, the truths and stories of Native American and Black/African American people are silenced and drowned out.
The familiar phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration of Independence appears inclusive to all, but from this same document reads “the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” It is clear that “all men” refers to white men, and all other voices are invalidated and forgotten. These two excerpts from Declaration of Independence prove its intention of catering only to white men and justifies the colonization of of Native American land and genocide of indigenous populations.
At an Independence Day celebration in 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech asking “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” His speech demonstrated the hypocrisy and narrowminded perspective of America’s founding fathers, promoting ideals of freedom while profiting off of slavery on colonized indigenous soil. In the year of 1776 however, it was not common for citizens to be abolitionists, and this informed the ultimate decision towards America’s push for “freedom” and independence. Douglass closes his speech with the words, “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn”.
ClassHook is committed to displaying the truth of historical events. To explore videos on other events and pivotal periods in time, visit our library!