Fourth of July - Research Article from Americans at War

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Creating National Identity: Consensus and Conflict

By the late eighteenth century, Fourth of July celebrations contained four standard features: (1) the oration and the reading of the Declaration of Independence; (2) a military parade and drill; (3) dinners and toasting; and (4) fireworks and illuminations. The oration was the centerpiece of the celebration and taught the lessons of the Revolution. Speakers proclaimed that Americans were by nature a liberty-loving people, which was why they had risen up against England's tyranny. Because power resided with the people, orators continued, Americans must be both virtuous and vigilant to preserve their liberties. Finally, they asserted that unity was essential to the nation's continued independence and lauded the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as symbols and guarantors of that union.

Despite calls for unity, underlying divisions over the nature of the republic continued to flare up on Independence Day. By the mid-1790s Federalists...

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This section contains 1,205 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Fourth of July Encyclopedia Article
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Americans at War
Fourth of July from Americans at War. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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