Independence Day (United States)
United States holiday held on July 4 to mark the Declaration of Independence
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- The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
- John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams (July 3, 1776); in L. H. Butterfield, ed., Adams Family Correspondence (1963), vol. 2, p. 30.
- I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory–I can see that the end is more than worth all the means and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction.
- John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Volume 1, page 232
- The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
- What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
- Our Bicentennial [of Indepdence] is the happy birthday of all fifty States, a commonwealth, and self-governing territories. It is not just a celebration for the original Thirteen Colonies. . . . The earliest English settlers carried the Bible and Blackstone’s Commentary. . . . [and] American families in prairie schooners like these took with them on the overland trails the principles of equality and the God-given rights of the Declaration of Independence.
- Gerald Ford, Gerald R. Ford: “Remarks in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,” American Presidency Project, July 4, 1976
- When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind.
- Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Volume 5, G.P.Putnam and sons, 1899 page 343