I would also think that some might suggest that January 1, 1863, is also an “independence day” of a sort, that being the date the Emancipation Proclamation (said to have ended slavery) took effect during the Civil War. These facts, at least to me, suggest that one could make several arguments as to which of these is the most appropriate to consider as the REAL Independence Day.
The Declaration of Independence, of course, was a statement regarding what the (now declared as former) colonies regarded as their relationship with England. It really was about the former colonies becoming separate states, with little to say about individuals.
The Emancipation Proclamation (January 1863) is usually considered as having ended slavery in the US (an important, but rather different, sort of “independence). Of course, it really didn’t actually do that, as paragraph two says:
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
Read that again. It states that the slaves have been freed in those areas “…the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, ….” That is, those areas not controlled by the Union. Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) is the day on which the last of the formerly Confederate States were placed under Union control and the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation were applied in those areas. Slaves held in states which were NOT “in rebellion” were NOT freed and are, in fact, ignored until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865.
I take this to mean that one could make a pretty good case (as far as individual independence is concerned) that December 6 is at least as logical a day as June 19, but I don’t make the rules and really don’t wish to do so.
So, what’s the REAL “Independence Day?” My suspicion is that it’s most likely that that question will be ignored and that “the Fourth of July” continues to be the day to celebrate American freedom of all sorts. And, I can’t believe that it’s going to make much real difference. The mid-summer festival of fireworks, beer, cookouts, etc. is almost certain to continue as the early July tradition it’s been for quite some time. The parades (where they are still held) are likely to continue. It’s not so much a celebration of a specific day as it is a celebration of an idea: that the PEOPLE choose the government which best suits them. My only hope is that we continue to accept the idea that while democracy can be (and often is) messy, it’s still better than any form of government which is dominated by the few, even if they claim that it’s all in the name of “the greater good.” I believe that the greater good is supposed to be determined by people thinking AND VOTING. We don’t need parties, priests, or demagogues to tell us what’s right for us. We decide for ourselves. ‘Nuff said.
In honor of the Fourth, here are some cartoons and jokes which I’ve collected which relate to the Fourth. I’ll admit that some of these are better than others, but enjoy!
Because freedom rings.
What kind of tea did the American colonists want?
What’s the difference between a duck and George Washington?
One has a bill on his face, and the other has his face on a bill.
What did the colonists wear to the Boston Tea Party?
It can’t sit down.
What ghost haunted King George III?
The spirit of ’76!
What do our flag and a sad candy cane have in common?
They are both red, white, and blue.
Who was the biggest jokester in George Washington’s army?
Why did the duck say bang?
Because he was a firequacker.
Was the Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia?
No, it was written in ink.
This is NOT a joke! I do NOT suggest this for anyone!
A Yankee Doodler.
Why did Paul Revere ride his horse from Boston to Lexington?
Because the horse was too heavy to carry!
Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell?
Yeah, it cracked me up!
Enjoy your celebration but remember that not everyone wants to enjoy it the same way. Be kind to your pets!
What did Polly the parrot want for the 4th of July?
What did one flag say to the other flag?
Nothing. It just waved.
What is red, white, blue, and green?
A seasick Uncle Sam.
Okay, I never promised you funny jokes!