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.
Celebrating the fourth of July in the 1800s was a time for the town folk, farmers, and their families to come into town for the day to enjoy some fife and drum music, to catch up with friends and town news, but most important was the reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was the highlight of the day and its celebrations.
For 150 years, the British Empire had established colonies on the eastern shores of what is now the United States. The colonies were prosperous, ran their own affairs and were left alone by England—until the French and Indian War ended. England was in dire straits and the king’s solution to his financial troubles was to tax the colonies. Discontent continued to build at the British’s refusal to allow the colonist representatives in the British Parliament, for naturally they would vote against the taxes. And so began the history that would lead us down the path to our independence.
The Declaration of Independence told the world that a new nation had been born. It is the heart and soul of the United States. July 4th, our nation’s birthday, was celebrated much differently in the 1800s. It wasn’t about fireworks or the productions put on for the people’s entertainment. It was about remembering those words penned in 1776 that gave birth to our great nation.
I was going to recount my experience of spending the day at Old Sturbridge Village in an authentic recreation of a town’s celebration of the 4th of July in 1830’s New England, but decided to let you see and hear what I experienced instead. Enjoy the following video: An 1830’s 4th of July Celebration in New England.
PS: Sorry the upload quality of youtube isn’t that great. Pictures below the cut.