July 4, or if you believe John Adams, July 2 is Independence Day. I wonder if Adams and Scalia are arguing someplace about “what the founding fathers intended.”
Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.
Here is John writing to his wife Abigail:
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.
So how did we all get sold on July 4th?
As it turns out, a number of copies of the document were made at the time of adoption. According to the National Archives, there are 26 copies of what is known as “the Dunlap broadside” (21 owned by American institutions, two by British institutions, and three by individuals). These were printed on paper on the night of July 4 by printer John Dunlap from a document sent by the Continental Congress. The original was written on parchment.
After 240 years of celebrations there is no way to all of a sudden get accurate. I plan on asking the next ‘originalist’ that I meet that is busy telling me what the founding fathers intended just how uniformed we all are. We are overly influenced by the press, then as now.
As for Adams wishes for great celebrations, we’ve definitely got that covered. In my camp ground the bonfires will definitely be lit but then the camp sites don’t have electricity and the smoke is the best bug control I can imagine. Guns however, are not allowed in my campground (see the Adams quote above.)
I am marching in the parade today with the Save the Boundary Waters (from sulfide mining) group. I already had the t-shirt and baseball cap so I was ready. To the pro-mining forces, I am tempted to say that the founding fathers would never have approved permanently spoiling our natural resources. If channeling the founding fathers was good enough for Scalia, it is good enough for me. If asked I am seriously tempted to claim that I am a time traveler sent to warn about the need for clean water given the threat of climate change. I wish I had anything in my closet that looked like garments that might have been worn in the 18th century but I do not.
Finally, Adams’ wish for illuminations. I do think we have that covered with the fireworks. John Adams might approve of some of what we do today to celebrate our independence. somehow I just can’t imagine him buying a TV at the Independence Day sale at the mall.
Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.