Saturday, July 2, 2016

240 Years of Freedom

Blogger: Amber Schamel

July 4th, 2016 marks 240 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Those 240 years have been filled with a lot of milestones. Tremendous history, inventions, battles, victories, losses, much to be attributed to our wonderful country and the American Spirit of innovation and patriotism. The very date of July 4 holds many notable events, so in honor of Independence day, I thought I would share a few of those tidbits with you. 

West Point Military Academy officially opened as a Federal Military school on July 4th, 1802.

 In 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of his famous document, Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the third U.S. President, dies of sickness at Monticello. John Adams, second U.S. President and co-author of the Declaration, died the same day.

New York, one of the states to begin the African Slave trade in America, abolishes slavery in the state on July 4, 1827.

Philidelphia is home to the first United States Mint. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1829. Today, there are 4 mints in the U.S.

Samuel Francis Smith was a student at the Andover Theological Seminary when his friend asked him to translate a song from German. Instead, he ended up writing his own patriotic lyrics to go with the tune of "God Save the Queen". It took him 30 minutes to write the lyrics. The song was performed for a children's Independence Day celebration on July 4th, 1831 in Boston.

During the Civil War, there were a lot of battles fought on July 4th, including the skirmish at Harper's Ferry in 1861. On that same day, Lincoln holds a special meeting of Congress to request 400,000 troops.

Calvin Coolidge, the man who would become the 30th President of the United States, was born on July 4, 1872.

Showcasing American innovation in 1876, the first electric light was exhibited in San Fransico

A victory in the battle for African-American rights, Tuskegee Institute in Alabama holds its first day of class with Brooker T. Washington as its teacher on Independence Day 1881.
Class at Tuskegee Institute

The colossal birthday gift of the Statue of Liberty is presented to the United States in Paris in 1884.

July 4th, 1888 in Prescott AZ marks the first organized Rodeo competition.

Katherine Lee Bates publishes America the Beautiful for the celebration in 1895.

In 1925, The Dreyfus Hotel in Boston collapses, killing 44 people.

U.S. Air offensive against Nazi-Germany began on July 4th, 1942.

On July 4, 1946, the Philipines gained their independence and thus share a national birthday with the United States of America.

To commemorate the 180th anniversary of Liberty, the Independence National Historical Park is formed in Philadelphia in 1956. This park includes the meetinghouse where the Continental Congress discussed and adopted the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Liberty Bell.
Another interesting note, on this same day, the most intense rainfall the U.S. has ever seen falls on Unionville, MD at a rate of 1.23 inches in a single minute.

Independence day of 1959 and 1960 were celebrated by adding stars to the American flag. The 49th star in '59 for Alaska, and the 50th star in '60 for Hawaii.

In more recent history, July 4th 1997, NASA's Mars Pathfinder becomes the first U.S. spacecraft after 20 years to land on Mars after traveling 120 million miles in seven months

America is an amazing country with a lot of amazing history and events, especially for such a relatively young country.

Now it's your turn! What eventful happenings have you experienced on July 4th? What is your favorite part of the celebration? 

Amber Schamel is the author of DAWN OF LIBERTY, a collection of short stories about Samuel Adams and the birth of America. Visit her at


  1. Despite all the bad things happening in our country lately, I am still proud to be an American. When I was younger, I enjoyed fireworks displays, but now I celebrate our Nation's birth with thankfulness and prayer....especially now. Great post....I always learn so much from this blog.

    1. Me too, Debbie. America is in my blood, and I still love my country. :)
      Thanks for stopping by, and Happy 4th of July!

  2. I love the fireworks and I am thankful for our country and our freedoms. God Bless America!

    1. Me too, Melanie. We watched a great display this year.

  3. I like the parade, the flags flying, and the fireworks.

    1. Our little town had flags everywhere. I think they are beautiful. Don't you think the USA flag is the most beautiful in all the world? :)

  4. Great blog! Our extended family gets together & grills. We usually make homemade ice cream. Then we watch as the older kids & adults set off fireworks. We are usually at a farm, where there are no city restrictions. Then the little ones do their sparklers.

    1. Homemade ice cream? YUM! I think we'll come to your house next year. ;)

  5. I love the fireworks and the food! Everything tastes better grilled and watermelon or homemade ice cream tops off the celebration.
    Thanks for this great post!

    1. :D Right there with ya, Connie. Thanks for stopping by.