The only country in the world that welcomes people who practically spit on it turns 235 years old today. What happened in early July of 1776 certainly needs no rehashing (the Green Bay Packers won the very first Superbowl) so in keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing more out of the way subjects this post will examine various events that took place on other July 4th’s throughout American history.
JULY 4TH, 1778 – George Rogers Clark led his rebel forces in seizing the British stronghold of Kaskaskia, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers. Clark and his Rangers were on a mission for then-Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.
JULY 4TH, 1789 – Back in the days before the country took pride in masochistically subordinating its own best interests in order to please all the countries that hate it, it was on this date that Congress passed a tariff that taxed goods imported in American ships at a rate 10% lower than on goods imported in ships under foreign flags.
JULY 4TH, 1797 – The Judiciary Committee of the House of Represenatives was preparing to exercise its impeachment power for the first time. Senator William Blount of Tennessee was the target. Blount would be accused of attempting to provoke a war between the USA and Spain by using clandestine agents to incite the Cherokee Indians into staging attacks on frontier outposts of both nations. The full list of charges was submitted to the House on July 7th, and though impeached, Blount was found not guilty by the Senate on January 14th of the following year.
JULY 4TH, 1817 – New York’s Governor DeWitt Clinton, marks the 4th by breaking ground at Rome, NY for the building of the Erie Canal.
JULY 4TH, 1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only U.S. Presidents to have signed the Declaration of Independence, both passed away on this date, the 50th anniversary of that document’s signing.
JULY 4TH, 1831 – The very first public singing of the song America, by Samuel Francis Smith, takes place in Boston, MA to mark the nation’s 55th birthday. Also on this date former President James Monroe tried to extend the tradition begun by Adams and Jefferson by passing away, but, oddly, no other former presidents have followed his lead on this.
JULY 4TH, 1836 – The House of Representatives marks the USA’s 60th birthday by passing a resolution recognizing the nation of Texas, a sister republic that has just fought its own war of independence from Mexico.
JULY 4TH, 1848 – The cornerstone of the Washington Monument is laid at a public celebration of Independence Day in Washington, DC.
JULY 4TH, 1863 – The Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, MS is surrendered to the Union forces led by General Ulysses S Grant. Because of this, southerners being as strange as they are about the Civil War, Vicksburg would not celebrate the 4th of July again until World War 2.
JULY 4TH, 1876 – On the nation’s Centennial, an African American painter named Edward M Bannister wins first prize for his painting Under The Oaks, presented at the celebration in Philadelphia.
JULY 4TH, 1881 – Many in the nation are praying for the survival of President James Garfield, who was shot by Charles Guiteau two days earlier. Garfield would linger until September 19th before passing away.
JULY 4TH, 1894 – This date is deliberately chosen to announce the proclamation of the Republic of Hawaii, led by President Sanford Dole, in one of those simultaneously stirring yet repulsive moments in history.
JULY 4TH, 1902 – President Theodore Roosevelt marks the nation’s 126th birthday by literally “declaring victory” in the undeclared war with Philippine nationalists that has been raging since February of 1899. This marks the end of hostilities everywhere except in the Moro province of the southern Philippine Islands where slave-holding Muslim forces remain under arms. The undeclared war against these forces would continue until June 15th, 1913, when Bud Dajo, the last bastion of Moro resistance fell after a frontal assault that lasted for three days.
JULY 4TH, 1910 – Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville W Fuller passes away after heading the Court for the past 22 years. Future Chief Justices see through this transparent attempt to start a “let’s die on the 4th of July” custom like Adams, Jefferson and Monroe did for Presidents and refuse to follow suit.
JULY 4TH, 1946 – In a ceremony in Manila, the Philippine Islands are granted their full independence from the United States.
JULY 4TH, 1976 – The nation celebrates its 200th birthday as everyone collectively catches their breath after the Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal.