Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress, gives his idea on the colors of the flag : "White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue . . . signifies vigilence, perseverence & justice."
During the French revolution, it was understood that white stands for royalty, blue for Democracy and red for Revolution.
What exactly is Independence Day?
A commemoration of what happened on the 4th of July 1776... And... ?
What do you think of when you read 4th of July ?
Well, as the American people are going to celebrate, lets brush up our general knowledge !
The War of Independence
The Declaration of Independence
The American flags
The Lady of Liberty
The American National Anthem
Independence day, fourth of July, the celebration for all the Americans of the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Britain by the Second Continental Congress (July 4, 1776)
Although the declaration was actually approved on July 2 in Philadelphia, and publically read only on the 8th of July, it was written by the Congress on the 4th of July.
The celebration became common only after 1812, and civic-minded groups work to link the ideals of democracy and citizenship to the patriotic spirit of the day.
The War of Independance is also known as the American Revolution and the American Revolutionary War. It went on between 1775 and 1783.
Thirteen of Great Britain's North American colonies won political independence and went on to form the United States of America.
The decision taken by the British government to increase the taxes paid by its North American colonies created a growing opposition to British rule.
Britain was intransigent in its response to the American resentment against the use of their economic resources to the only benefit of the British ruler, and was equally deaf to their plead for a representation at the Parliament.
The fights begun in 1775, one year later, the American colonies declared their independence from Britain.
"The conflict thus began as a civil war within the British Empire over colonial affairs, but, with America being joined by France in 1778, Spain in 1779, and the Netherlands in 1780, it became an international war. On land the Americans assembled both state militias and the Continental (national) Army, with approximately 20,000 men, mostly farmers, fighting at any given time. By contrast, the British army was composed of reliable and well-trained professionals, numbering about 42,000 regulars, supplemented by about 30,000 German mercenaries.
The Treaty of Paris (Sept. 3, 1783) ended the U.S. War of Independence. Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States (with western boundaries to the Mississippi River) and ceded Florida to Spain. Other provisions called for payment of U.S. private debts to British citizens, U.S. use of the Newfoundland fisheries, and fair treatment for American colonials loyal to Britain.
In explaining the outcome of the war, scholars point out that Britain seemed never to have an overall strategy for winning and often displayed a lack of understanding and cooperation among their armies. The Americans, on the other hand, were by no means inept even before von Steuben's training at Valley Forge, and the state militias performed admirably alongside the Continental Army in crises. French supplies and funds from 1776 to 1778, and direct military and naval support after 1778, enabled the American forces to take advantage of British disorganization, to defeat entire British armies at Saratoga and Yorktown, and to secure the independence of the 13 American states."
(source : Encyclopedia Britannica)
The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important document in the brief American history, and it was almost entirely written by Thomas Jefferson.
The declaration is a milestone for a new phase in the war of independence. The declaration was publically announced when the American forces were under serious attack by a stronger British professional military oponent.
Wahington army defended itself, standing up as a symbol of resistance.
We should not forget Thomas Paine's article, published in early 1776, stating an astonishingly dary declaration : "That the Colonies may continue connected ...
with Britain is our Second Wish: Our first is--that America
may be free."
Nor should we ignore the honest and brave words of an unknown writer, stating that Americans would be "a happy, wealthy, powerful, and
respectable people ... by declaring an immediate independency."
(source: Collier's Encyclopedia)
The fever of revolution had gained every American by Spring 1776.
On June 11 Congress appointed a committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to prepare a declaration of independence.
Jefferson was a Virginian, 33 years old, and one of the youngest men in Congress. Jefferson did not think it his duty to discover new principles or to invent new ideas, "but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject . . . Neither aiming at originality or principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind . . . All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c." (Jefferson to Lee, May 8, 1825).
(source: Collier's Encyclopedia)
THE TEXT OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Who signed ?When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which
the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the
present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States, for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace Standing Armies, without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary
government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering
fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for
Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered by repeated injury: A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and
magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind. Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
WE, THEREFORE, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name and by authority of the good People of these Colonies solemnly publish and declare That these United Colonies are and of Right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and
ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may
of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Heyward, Jr., Thomas
Lee, Francis Lightfoot.
Lee, Richard Henry.
Lynch, Jr., Thomas
Nelson, Jr., Thomas
Paine, Robert Treat.
Rutledge, Edward .
Henry F. Graff
The great and beautiful Statue of Liberty
Here is another "Liberty
enlightening the world",
raised on Tiananmen
Square in June 1989
The Lady of Liberty is the symbol of freedom and stands high on Liberty Island in the Bay of New York Harbour. It commemorates the alliance of 1778 between France and the United States.
92 m (302 ft) high with its pedestal, it represents a woman who just won her freedom, she is holding a torch in her raised right hand and a book of law bearing the date July 4, 1776, in her left, proclaiming liberty. Broken shackles lie at her feet as she steps forward to enlighten the world.
On the pedestal a sonnet, "The New Colossus" (1883), by Emma Lazarus is engraved. Emma Lazarus wrote the poem to raise funds for the pedestal:
The New Collossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi directed a team of sculptors in France in 1875 to realize the statue, which funds had been contributed by the French people, on a proposal made after the civil war by a French historian, Edouard de Laboulaye.
The statue is made of copper sheets and was designed by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel.
In 1885 the completed statue was disassembled and shipped to New York City on the French ship Isère.
Richard Morris Hunt is the American architect who designed the pedestal which was completed later. The statue, mounted on its pedestal, was dedicated by President Cleveland on Oct. 28, 1886.
The statue was declared a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924. In 1956 Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island, and in 1965 nearby Ellis Island, once the point of entry for millions of immigrants, was added, bringing the monument's total area to about 24 ha (58 ac).
The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor has been for many generations of immigrants and visitors both the first glimpse of the United States and an unforgettable vision of what the country stands for.
Liberty is and has always been the symbol for those yearning to be free.
The American flag is also known as The Old Glory or the Star-Spangled Banner consisting of white stars (50 from July 4, 1960) on a blue canton, with a field of 13 alternate stripes, 7 red and 6 white. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states of the Union, and the 13 stripes stand for the original 13 states.
On June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the first official American flag. Stars and stripes, with a blue canton meant to receive 13 stars, in an undefined pattern. See below examples of known official flags.
( examples )
In 1818, Congress issued a legislation, which has been ruling the system ever since : the flag has 13 stripes and the number of stars always matches the number of states. The new stars are added on the 4th of July.
In 1912 and 1934, the shapes and colors were standardized to be what we see today.
Want to know more about the flag? click here
How to treat the flag
Display of the flag is a sign of respect and love of the nation.
The flag should not be flown in bad weather (unless it is made of all-weather material) or, in most cases, at night. The flag may be flown at night, if illuminated, at a sports event or other public assembly.
The flag is also flown at night during wartime by forts, ships, and forces engaged in battle.
In peacetime the flag of the United States flies at night only at certain places
designated by Congress. [....]
The flag should be displayed on all days, but especially New Year's Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, any other special days proclaimed by the President of the United States, and the birthdays of states (date of admission) and state holidays.
Flag display should be on or near the main building of all public institutions, on or near all school buildings on school days, and in or near all polling places on election days.
When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, the flag of the United States should be either on the marching right, that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. When on a float in a parade, the flag should be displayed from a staff.
The flag should never be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motor car, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender. No other flag or pennant should be placed above it, or, if on the same level, to
the right of it, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag.
The U.S. flag, when displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way.
The U.S. flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group, when a number of flags of states, cities, localities, or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
When flags of states, cities, localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the U.S. flag, the latter should always be at the peak.
When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. No flag or pennant may be placed above the U.S. flag, or to its right.
When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height and the flags should be approximately the same size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the windowsill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is
suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out, or so suspended that its folds fall as free as though the flag were staffed. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the U.S. flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the
clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Black crepe streamers may be affixed to spearheads or flagstaffs in a parade only by the order of the president of the United States.
When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
No disrespect should be shown to the flag; it should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental, state, organization, or institution flags are dipped as a mark of honor.
The flag should never be displayed with the union down save as a signal of dire distress, it should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise, and it should never be carried flat or horizontally,
but always aloft and free. The flag should never be used as drapery, never festooned, drawn back, nor up in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Instead, bunting of blue, white, and red, arranged with the blue above, white in the middle, and red below should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping
the front of a platform, and for decoration in general. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such manner as will permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way. It should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. The flag should never have placed upon it, nor any part of it,
nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. It should never be used for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard; or used as any portion of a costume or athletic uniform. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. When the flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning (privately).
On July 9, 1953, a public law was approved that stated:
No person shall display the Flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the Flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof:
Provided, that nothing shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the Flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the Flag of the United States at the eadquarters of the United Nations.
The American National Anthem : The Star-Spangled Banner.
It first appeared in 1775 as the song of the Anacreontic Society
of London, an organization of wealthy music-lovers who met
periodically to enjoy an orchestral concert. Ralph Tomlinson, a
lawyer from Lincoln's Inn and a president of the Society,
wrote the words--To Anacreon in Heaven.
No composer is mentioned in any extant 18th-century edition. Attempts have been made to assign the credit to Samuel Arnold, who conducted the
Society's orchestra, and to John Stafford Smith, who published an arrangement for three voices in 1799, but it is much more probable that the tune had a prior
existence--possibly a military one, since it has many characteristics of a trumpet march of the period--before the Anacreontic Society adapted it for their purposes and made it famous.
The earliest documentary proof of the presence of the song in the United States is the publication in New York newspapers in 1793 of a patriotic parody--The genius of France from his star begem'd throne--written to be sung to the tune.
By 1795, the words of "To Anacreon in Heaven", as well as other parodies, had begun to appear in American collections of songs, and to judge from the steady increase in such publications the melody gained rapidly in popularity,
particularly at the elaborate town banquets held in each community to celebrate Washington's Birthday and the Fourth of July.
At least a hundred patriotic parodies have survived.
Francis Scott Key wrote his first poem to the tune in December 1805, and sang it himself at a dinner in Georgetown in honor of Stephen Decatur.
Key's more famous poem to the same tune was written later.
The melody was already common property, and it was not long before Key's words were generally recognized as the best embodiment yet produced in song form of American ideas of patriotism.
No other patriotic song appears so regularly and over such a long period, and therefore its final elevation to the position of national anthem seems to be
Army and Navy regulations began to require its use in the 1890's, when circumstances called for the performance of a national anthem, and President Woodrow Wilson confirmed this usage during World War I in approving a new edition of the regulations. Finally President Hoover signed the bill on Mar. 3,
1931, making the song the national anthem.
(source: Collier's Encyclopedia)
To all our American friends, all over the world, Have a joyous and delightful 4th of July ! Feedback Home