Independence Day

  • What is the Meaning of America's Oldest July 4th Celebration?

    by Ben Railton

    Bristol, Rhode Island's patriotic festivities are the oldest Independence Day festivities in the nation, but the town's history sits at the uncomfortable intersection of independence with the slave trade and wars of extermination against Native Americans. 

  • Partisans Often Try to Claim July 4 as their Own. It Usually Backfires

    by Kevin M. Kruse

    Intense partisans seeking to use July 4 celebrations as a way to denounce their opponents as unpatriotic have seldom succeeded, though despite some notorious episodes of Independence Day chaos they will probably keep trying. 

  • The Battle for 1776

    How will the re-emergence of history as a culture war battle front impact the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence? Annette Gordon-Reed, Jane Kamensky, Michael Hattem, Kevin Gover, Philip Mead, Robert Parkinson and Alan Taylor are among the historians commenting.

  • Why Doesn't D.C. Have a Military Parade on the Fourth of July?

    by David Austin Walsh

    On Bastille Day in Paris, the trees lining the Champs-Élysées are covered in the French tricolor. Battalion after battalion of French troops march down the avenue, gleaming bayonets attached to their Space Age rifles. Tanks, armored cars, and nuclear missiles roll past a viewing stand where the French president and his generals look on as martial music plays.It's one of the largest military parades in the world, and it's been going on nearly every year since 1880 (except from 1940-1944, for obvious reasons). Here's what it looks like:Here's what the Fourth of July parade down Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C. looks like:

  • Top 5 Myths About the Fourth of July!

    by Rick Shenkman

    Credit: Wiki Commons.#1 Independence Was Declared on the Fourth of July.America's independence was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The night of the second the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement:"This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States."So what happened on the Glorious Fourth? The document justifying the act of Congress-you know it as Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence-was adopted on the fourth, as is indicated on the document itself, which is, one supposes, the cause for all the confusion. As one scholar has observed, what has happened is that the document announcing the event has overshadowed the event itself.When did Americans first celebrate independence? Congress waited until July 8, when Philadelphia threw a big party, including a parade and the firing of guns. The army under George Washington, then camped near New York City, heard the new July 9 and celebrated then. Georgia got the word August 10. And when did the British in London finally get wind of the declaration? August 30.