Monday, September 2, 2013

America's First True 4th of July Celebration

A little patriotism and history for you on this Labor Day.

July 4th, 1787 would be the first time since the Constitution's signing in 1776 that so many distinguished Americans would be gathered at the birthplace of independence in Philadelphia.   Cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston had already begun to commemorate the decision for independence as early as 1777, the celebration in Philadelphia in 1787 was more elaborately orchestrated and attended than any of the previous celebrations of the event.

This was the summer that 55 delegates from the 13 states gathered between May and September in Philadelphia to write our Constitution.
  • 33 of the 55 delegates serving in the Constitutional Convention had engaged in active military duty during the Revolutionary War.   
  • 8 of the 55 also signed the Declaration of Independence.  
  • 6 of the 55 served alongside of Washington and endured the brutal winter at Valley Forge.  
  • 42 of the 55 served at one time or another in the Continental Congress (our official government after the Revolutionary War and prior to the ratification of our Constitution.  
The day was capped with what the local newspaper reported as "a very beautiful set of fireworks," which perhaps for the first time in our nation citizens had seen launched into the sky.  

Source: Plain Honest Men by Richard Beeman, p. 190-192 in the 2010 Random House paperback edition.