Saturday, July 2, 2011
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence is a 12-by-18-foot oil-on-canvas painting in the United States Capitol Rotunda that depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. It was based on a much smaller version of the same scene, presently held by the Yale University Art Gallery. Trumbull painted many of the figures in the picture from life and visited Independence Hall as well to depict the chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. The oil-on-canvas work was commissioned in 1817, purchased in 1819, and placed in the rotunda in 1826.
As we prepare for another July 4th celebration, think about this sad statistic:
26 Percent Of Americans Don’t Know U.S. Declared Independence From Great Britain | According to a new poll by Marist, more than a quarter of Americans couldn’t correctly identify the country from which the United States declared its independence. While 74 percent correctly named Great Britain, 20 percent said they weren’t sure and six percent named other countries. In the South, 32 percent of respondents either responded incorrectly or weren’t sure. The poll comes on the heels of test scores that showed few American students gaining proficiency in U.S. history, a problem presidential candidate Rick Santorum blamed on the “conscious effort” by “the left” to keep Americans uninformed. (HT: The Hotline’s Steve Shepard)
I am happy to report that the highest literacy on this question was in the Northeast region of the country (84% got it correct). Sadly, the least literate was in the South (32% did not know the answer).
What has happened to this country that its people do not know or do not care to know its most basic history. I don't know the statistics, but are there more home-schoolers in the south than in the northeast? Anyone?
Boston will be celebrating the 4th with its traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House at 10 am on July 4, a tradition that has continued since the day the DoI arrived in Boston, July 18, 1776.
I hope everyone has a safe, happy holiday.
John Adams' famous letter of July 3, 1776, in which he wrote to his wife Abigail what his thoughts were about celebrating the Fourth of July is found on various web sites but is usually incorrectly quoted. Following is the exact text from his letter with his original spellings:
"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. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. 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 tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not." (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).