Commemorating the Declaration of Independence

The anniversary of the Declaration of Independence has long served as an event to commemorate the founding of the United States, but such celebrations also reflect contemporary social and political conditions. Independence Day speeches often relate the issues that are important to people and can tell us much about the state of the Union when the speech was given.

In this video, we examine an Independence Day speech that was given in 1801 and consider what it can tell us about American history of the early nineteenth century.

“Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
Thomas Jefferson

June 24, 1826

“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.”
John Adams

July 3, 1776