New York (AP) – July 4, 1776, Continental Meeting Formally approved the Declaration of Independence. The celebration started within a few days. Parades and public reading, bonfires and candles, and 13 musket fires, one for each original state.
Almost a century has passed before the country officially named its establishment a holiday.
With the recent enactment of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, the United States currently has 12 federal holidays. Many are American calendar fixtures, but their existence is not just a story of continuity. They reflect how the United States has evolved-from a state tie-up with a relatively small federal government to a more centralized country.
State-wide and local meetings independence Day And the other holidays are as old as the country itself. However, the first round of federal holidays so identified because federal employees (initially only federal employees in Washington, DC) were given holidays was the Civil War in 1870 by President Ulysses S. Grant. The law was signed only five years after the war was over.
“The Civil War has integrated national power in every way, and national holidays are an example of that,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Fonner. “There were many firsts after the Civil War.”
Juneteenth and other federal holidays MeetingSuggests a broad bipartisan consensus. Grant biographer Ron Chernow states that the first holiday was the safest holiday of the time-New Year’s Day. independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, George Washington’s Birthday (established in 1879).
“They followed the Civil War, but by chance they had nothing to do with the Civil War. The wounds of the war are still deep and irreparable, and the memorial of the war itself is fragmented. It would have been considered to be, “says Charnau. He states that the anniversary of those who died in the war did not become a federal holiday until 1888.
“The first five federal holidays sought to regain commonality between the north and the south,” says Charnau. “Both sides of the Civil War claimed to have fought in the spirit of the American Revolutionary War, so it was easy for both sides to celebrate Washington’s birthday. independence Day.. “
Whether it’s a statement of patriotism or a statement of social justice, federal holidays reflect part of the country’s own sense and how it changes.
Ronald Reagan, who opposed civil rights and voting rights laws in the 1960s and personally believed in the civil rights of the deceased, was so strong in public support to make Rev. Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday. The law was signed by the President in 1983. The leader’s position was “based on image, not reality.” Still, Arizona, New Hampshire, and South Carolina resisted making it a state holiday, and South Carolina waited until 2000. Alabama and Mississippi still combine King’s birthday with Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
Columbus Day became a national holiday in 1968 Meeting According to a Senate report at the time, President Lyndon Johnson was a tribute to immigrants and “a declaration of willingness to confidently face the mysteries of an unknown tomorrow.” But over the last 40 years, as the image of Columbus shifts from the “American discoverer” to the image of racists and imperialists, will cities and states change the name of the holiday (Hawaii changed it? We call it “Day of Discovery”), to honor others who used it; since 1989, South Dakota has called it “Native American Day.”
“Federal holidays can be thought of as monuments built in parks,” said Matthew Dennis, author of the 2002 American Holidays Book “Red, White, and Blue Letters Day.” Says. “At the monument, you try to set the meaning of the past with stones, but that can change, and people may say,” Wait, who is this guy? “
Of the national holidays, July 4th is the most complex and debated, reflecting questions and contradictions about the origin of the country and the Declaration of Independence itself.
independence Day It has been involved in the national sector from almost the beginning. In the 1780s and 1790s, supporters of the stronger central government (Federalist Party) and those worried about returning to the British monarchy (sometimes called the Jefferson Republican Party) discussed the author of the Declaration of Independence. Republicans, their own Thomas Jefferson and Federalists (correctly) argued that many others worked on it.
In the decades prior to the Civil War, black Americans were often excluded from official events on July 4, instead celebrating July 5 and admitting July 4 and the distance from it. Frederick Douglass delivered his famous 1852 speech, “What is July 4th to the Slaves,” on July 5th.
The Civil War itself was a time of competition for interpretation. The Southerners accepted the message of a declaration of independence of rebellion against tyranny. North regarded it as a blueprint.In a letter to Meeting President Abraham Lincoln, sent on July 4, 1861, just months after the Civil War began independence Day As an inspiration for a new, more humane society.
“Our enemies have adopted the Declaration of Independence, which omits the phrase” all human beings are made equal, “unlike the good old ones written by Jefferson,” Lincoln wrote. Improves the condition of men. Lift artificial weights from all shoulders. Pave the way for a pursuit that deserves the praise of everyone. To give you a fair chance in every free start and race of life. “
The meaning of July 4th continues to evolve from president to president.Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush are among the devoted people independence Day Speech to the military, whether during World War II or in the aftermath of the September 11 attack. John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech in the midst of the Cold War called independence “a single problem that divides the world today” and evoked “a longing for independence behind the Iron Curtain.” It was. In 2014, President Barack Obama cites the promise of “life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness” as the reason why “immigrants from all over the world dream of coming to our beaches.”
for independence Day In 2020, less than two months after George Floyd’s murder, President Donald Trump said with Black Lives Matter protesters that he “cleaned up history, slandered heroes, erased values, and gave children. He blamed “a relentless campaign to teach”. His ultimate successor, Joe Biden, stated that even Jefferson was a slave owner and published a short video showing that the country had not yet fulfilled its promise of equality.
“But once proposed, it was an unconstrained idea,” he said. “We have survived the Civil War rage, the Bull Connor dog, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and over 200 years of systematic racism.”
“America is not a fairy tale,” Biden added. “It was a constant push and pull between two parts of our character: the idea that all men and women-all people-are made equal and the racism that tore us.”
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Meaning of July 4, June 16 and public holidays
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