This week at the Memorial Library we are preparing to celebrate, commemorate and consider the American Declaration of Independence, the Revolution that followed and the culture that flourished in its aftermath.
Independence Day is a federally recognized national holiday that is often celebrated with picnics, barbecues, fireworks, concerts and parades–just as John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the 2nd President of the United States, imagined it (although he was a few days out).
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. –John Adams in a letter to his wife Abigail Adams
The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1750 and 1783 during which the Thirteen American Colonies broke from the British Empire and formed an independent nation, the United States of America. The American Revolution was the result of a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations in American society, government and ways of thinking. Beginning in 1765 the Americans rejected the authority of Parliament to tax them without elected representation: ‘no taxation without representation.’ Protests soon escalated such as the infamous Boston Tea Party of 1773.
The British responded with punitive laws and military aggression—but so too did the American patriots. The Patriots fought the British in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. American independence from the British monarchy was officially adopted on July 4th 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and its acceptance by Congress.
This is only a small fraction of the American Independence story. There are many perspectives and numerous interpretations about the American struggle for Independence and the meaning of independence then and now. This is a debate still ongoing between contemporary scholars, writers and observers in the USA today.
For your own interpretation of events, I point you in the direction of only a small handful of our collection on the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence. All of these books and more will be displayed on our main display shelf (just outside the Memorial Library doors) and are available for check out.
In addition to this, you will find books on various aspects of American culture: American English, American food, American Art, American holidays and even fine American whiskey! You can reserve any of these books online here. But of course, if you’re in the library why not stop in and catch one of our American scholars! Until then, to all of our Americans out there: Happy 4th of July Weekend!