Celebrating America's Independence: the Fourth of July - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1775 Words
Date:  2023-05-10


The tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July goes back to the American Revolution and the 18th century. The United States has upheld and celebrated the day as the country's Independence Day. Continental Congress favored the day and with backing from the 13 colonies adopting the Declaration of Independence (Brown and Shannon 305). The day has remained a remarkable celebration signifying the country's birth with far-reaching celebrations from family gatherings, concerts, parades, art exhibitions, and fireworks. Although July 2nd stands as the day Congress voted for real independence, the 4th of July has remained as the country's day of independence (Brown and Shannon 305). Celebrations for the day have marked a significant part of America's history and have existed as an essential day in the country. Americans have used the day to assert their citizenship, unite the country, and enjoy the many benefits across various religious, class, racial, political, and ethnic lines (Robinson 14). The Fourth of July remains an essential day in the American political, social, and economic structure. All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the country has maintained an upbeat mood and celebrations in asserting their independence, patriotism, and diversity to celebrate freedom from the British. Despite changing over the years, the July Fourth celebrations have not only united the people, but have also created an essential festival in which Americansappreciated their unique historic features.

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Early Celebrations

According to Brown and Shannon from the early 1870s, many Americans only observed the day instead of upbeat celebrations and happy moods (310). The day marked a unique feat of the country's triumphal narrative concerning the historical aspects of the people. On the day, people offered alternative explanations and versions of the membership and founding of the country. The Fourth of July has remained a unique feature of the American lifestyle ever since the 18th century, with many contesting and arguing on its exact meaning (Brown and Shannon 305). Multiple sources indicate how Americans have used the day to define themselves, their struggles, and the many tumultuous feats they achieved and conquered over the years.

Robinson observed that during the nineteenth century, many towns took their time to listen to the many speeches offered by renowned political and social and religious leaders (41). Dignitaries took a central role in defining and raising critical social and political issues on the day. Though they at times raised controversial issues, the day remained as an essential celebration in which the country focused its attention on pressing national concerns, slavery, the economy, and policies (Brown and Shannon 310). The oratories helped define the country's path to revolution, development, and founding ideals.

During critical periods such as the War of Independence, both soldiers and civilians used the day to focus their attention on public readings. However, in the early 1790s, the celebrations and recognition on the day declined. Among conservative Federalists, the celebrations brought forth sharp differences and partisan politics, a feat that saw near halt in the public speeches. However, after the demise of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826 July 4th, the day acquired an authoritative, mystical, and scriptural culture (Brown and Shannon 325). The once-celebrated public lectures and readings streamed back and took a central role in redefining the day. The antebellum era saw many groups of people produce their self-declarations. Such forums enabled historians to re-evaluate the re-invention of the day as more and more abolitionists, temperance reformers, labor groups, and women rights advocates, threw their weight and participation into the activities.

According to Robinson, the Fourth of July filled with many activities, high-minded rhetoric, and deep insight into the country's history and political/social path (33). Many groups used the opportunity to highlight on the countries achievements, sacrifice, and future prospects. However, critics of the day went overboard to disparage the celebrations. Lower class citizens had little or no chance to air their opinions on the same. As the day received acclaim and recognition into the 1800s, many artists used the opportunity to highlight the country's unique features, mainly in the form of cartoons and paintings (Brown and Shannon 335). While some criticized, some praised the day's significance and participants. Artists conveyed various messages that highlighted social, racial, and ethnic prejudices of the Fourth of July.

Renowned artists and painters such as Trumbull and Lewis produced remarkable paintings and artwork that resonated with the celebrations to mark the historic day (Brown and Shannon 331). Trumbull compressed much of the events into iconic pictures that Congress approved. Lewis produced victorious depicting scenes that showed George Washington (Robinson 34). Many revelers enjoyed the day, danced and drunk with military men showcasing their skills. The paintings depicted a cheery mood with many people enjoying the markings. In 1826, Daniel Webster delivered one of the best speeches in the history of the country based on July 4th (Brown and Shannon 329). The early days of speeches and oratory works came back as most people took considerable time in delivering remarkable speeches and historical journeys the country made towards independence.

Before Labor Day achieved its remarkable significance among workers, employers used the Fourth of July to give their employees days off. They showcased their skills, paraded their wares, and produced their products to see (Brown and Shannon 332). In the early 1820s and late 1830s, employees used the occasion to promote and create awareness of their causes. In several states and regions, trade unions used the day to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements (Robinson 34). Workers used the day to organize, promote, and engage with other workers on their work engagement. Through this, they promoted good feelings, morality, and class intelligence. They used the occasion to improve better working conditions, fair remuneration, and reasonable working engagements.

Unlike the trade unions displays that focused on employee and employer engagements, Fredrick Marryat emphasized that the Fourth of July became known as a day of celebrations. According to Marryat, the Fourth of July received much attention, recognition and formed a central basis of celebrating the country's liberation, freedom, and a path to a new frontier. Commemorations started in the evening to the Fourth of July (Brown and Shannon 335). The celebrations went all through the night, ushering in the morning of July 4th with pomp and color. All cried, "My kingdom for a horse" went through all people's, with cries of freedom. People used wagons, carriages, and coaches. The American flag flew high in and out of windows. Young boys carried the flag as they ran around the streets shouting and singing. Leaders joined together for meals, and families engaged in celebrations and singing that went into late in the night.

According to Marryat, women, children, young adults all took part in upbeat celebrations, with songs and dance (21). The entire town erupted in celebrations. All households, offices, and businesses made a keen interest in the national event. Many took great enthusiasm with leaders leading in marking the most important day in the country's history. Although the heard addresses from leaders, the citizens, focus went to the music, singing, dancing, carriages, and marches around the town. The primary characteristics entailed speechmaking, processions, bonfires, and the ringing of bells, and music.

Men and women joined in the streets in the early days to celebrate and commemorate the day of deliverance. According to women, the day would mark a particular time in the history of America as a memorable anniversary festival, by solemn devotion to God. Young men and children celebrated and glorified in the parades and pomp's (Marryat 30). Other races that included blacks, red Indians, and Asians took little part in the celebrations. The slaves gave little significance to the day (Rife 56). In 1852, one of the Blacks orators, Frederick Douglass gave a resounding address at the celebrations. Douglass criticized the day and noted that the Fourth of July never aligned with his rights. He acknowledged the efforts and contributions of the Founding fathers (Brown and Shannon 335). Douglass reiterated that despite their significant contributions, their focus betrayed the ideals of slaves in the country. He disparaged the Declaration of Independence, a meaning he equated to injustice and inequality among the blacks and other minority races.

While the majority of Americans celebrated in the day, many minority races, including blacks, American Indians, and Latin Americans, took little notice or celebrations of the day. Blacks (slave leaders) took the opportunity to criticize the plight of blacks, calling upon the leaders to recognize the suffering blacks held as slaves in big plantations (Brown and Shannon 335). Firstly, blacks and Americans Indians saw little role and place in national independence. In their opinion, there still existed injustice, slavery, and widespread inequality that deserved a little celebration.


During the early summers of the late 1770s, colonists marked the day of independence by mock funerals, as a way of marking the Queen's colony of America. There were minimum festivities hat entailed parades, firing canons, bonfires, and concerts (Brown and Shannon 333). In 1778 and later 1781, George Washington offered rum to the military officers to mark the day with Massachusetts marking the day before other states. Then, during the Revolutionary War, the people in various states and regions in America marked the day by allowing upcoming political leaders to talk to the people, a strategy that aimed at bringing forth unity among the citizens (Brown and Shannon 336). In the late 18th century, the main political parties started holding their separate celebrations in large states and cities.

In the later years of the 1800s, especially after the 1812 war that saw America wage war against the British, the celebrations spread to other states (Robinson 54). In later 1870 after Congress declared the day a Federal Holiday, all federal workers got expanded grants. The grants further heightening the celebrations as many people and families took it as an opportunity to spend with their loved ones and acknowledge the efforts of the countries founding fathers (Brown and Shannon 336). Through their in-house and outdoor engagements, Americans considered the day as a symbol of patriotism (Rife 32). However, over the years, the concerted and aggressive celebrations declined, but many still marked its significance and relevance in the country's political journey (Marryat 41).

The practice continued into the 19th century as Americans considered the day as a time of leisure activities occasioned with family togetherness, outdoor barbecues, and fireworks (Brown and Shannon 337). These mainly featured in neighborhoods as family and friends engaged in private and secluded celebrations. However, all through the activities, the flag remained the most significant symbol of unity accompanied by "The Star-Spangled Banner," the country's national anthem.

While whites saw themselves and legitimate Americans, they considered other races, especially blacks and American Indians, as outsiders. Due to inequality, slavery, and discrimination practices widespread in the country in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Blacks and other races never saw themselves...

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Celebrating America's Independence: the Fourth of July - Essay Sample. (2023, May 10). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/celebrating-americas-independence-the-fourth-of-july-essay-sample

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