Fourth of July: And the Founding of America

Fourth of July: And the Founding of America

by Peter De Bolla
     
 

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This enlightening exploration of the ritual celebration and mythology of America's birthday offers a fascinating window into the history of our nation and our people.
The United States is a nation that touts its diversity, but there is one tradition that all Americans love to share. Every year on the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the founding of the nation

Overview

This enlightening exploration of the ritual celebration and mythology of America's birthday offers a fascinating window into the history of our nation and our people.
The United States is a nation that touts its diversity, but there is one tradition that all Americans love to share. Every year on the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the founding of the nation. Independence Day is the greatest of national traditions, but much of the inherited lore that surrounds the Fourth is myth and legend, not history. Even the fact that the holiday is celebrated on the fourth is misleading, as the Declaration of Independence was in fact penned on July 2nd, 1776. Jefferson did not write it himself, nor was it intended to mark the birth of a new nation. In this remarkable and wonderful work of research and narrative, Peter de Bolla teases out the true story of the Fourth of July. De Bolla traces the holiday's history from 1776 through the Civil War, the Cold War, and the present.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Americans, unlike poets, are made, not born. Peter de Bolla, in his witty monograph on that most patriotic of days, July 4, dismantles the making machinery...[An] elegant, ironic, brief but deeply researched meditation on what makes America America."-The Financial Times
School Library Journal

British professor de Bolla (cultural studies, Kings Coll., Cambridge Univ.; Art Matters) looks at the origins of theAmerican holiday, the development of the symbols surrounding it (e.g., Betsy Ross, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam), and how the holiday has evolved and been publicly celebrated over the years. The book shows general readers (there is nothing here for informed readers or scholars) that many of the legends of the Fourth do not hold up to inquiry. He likens the veneration of objects and stories associated with the holiday to veneration of religious relics: the truth is often blurred or ignored in deference to the significance of the message. For example, he shows that the actual date has little meaning in reality, with members of the Second Continental Congress simply agreeing to have the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4. They then moved on to other business. The famous engrossed vellum version in the National Archives was signed on July 19th. De Bolla examines other mysteries as well, such as whether Jefferson plagiarized part of the Declaration. Although much of the material has been covered before, this short volume serves as "one-stop shopping" for the subject and will appeal to new history buffs and general readers in public libraries.
—Robert Flatley Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590202104
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Peter de Bolla is Professor of Cultural History and Fellow of King's College at Cambridge University.

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