Thursday, July 3, 2008

In Preparation for Independence Day

Tomorrow will mark the 232nd birthday of the United States. In a little over two centuries the United States has witnessed some dramatic changes, both for the good and the bad. Despite all of these changes, however, one cannot help but appreciate the wonderful heritage, freedom and prosperity that has helped to sustain America throughout the past 232 years.

Sadly, a large number of Americans have forgotten -- or never bothered to learn in the first place -- our nation's history. A recent study by NPR News sadly states that most Americans remain woefully ignorant of this nation's heritage. In fact, roughly 40% of all Americans have NEVER ONCE read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any of the other important founding documents of our nation's birth.

I for one find it amazing that Americans are so quick to profess their love, admiration and patriotism for this nation, yet remain ignorant of its history and development. In many ways, this phenomenon is similar to the professing Christian that knows little or nothing about his/her religion's doctrine. How can one profess loyalty or patriotism to a nation or cause if he/she knows nothing of its history? As Cicero stated so many years ago, "History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of cannot become a true citizen without first gaining an understanding of history."

As the barbecue pits begin to heat up and the fireworks are pulled out from the closet, remember that tomorrow's celebration is, in the end, a celebration of America's great heritage. If you are one of those 40% that have never read the Dec. of Independence, the Constitution, etc., then I invite you to correct that mistake, and what better day than tomorrow to do it!

With this in mind, here is a wonderful video on the Declaration of Independence, in which the document is read in its entirety. Also, here are a few links to some historical documents that EVERY AMERICAN should read.

Happy Independence Day!

Here is the EXCELLENT Declaration of Independence Video:

And some other links:

*The Constitution of the United States click here
*Bill of Rights click here
*Articles of Confederation click here
*Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty of Give me Death" speech click here
*James Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance" click here
*Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia" click here


Anonymous said...

To add another sad note, our history books have been teaching our children since day one facts that are just not true plus they spend weeks on world history and only days studying the Revolutionary War and Civil War. No wonder Americans don't have an interest in their own country! Sad! Sad!

Anonymous said...

Tammy, I totally agree with you. It is sad how we, as AMERICANS, are becoming both lazzy and uninterested to understand what it truly means to be an AMERICAN!

Happy 4th to all of us; us proud to be, AMERICANS!

Anonymous said...

I have spent years of my life trying to figure out how to remedy this. It is extremely frustrating that there are many who don't deem it important.

I agree with Tammy too. I'd like to add to her comment that high school history books have to be the worst pieces of crap I've ever read (and I LOVE history). We're too transfixed with making history perfect and not telling the real story. George Washington has been painted as a boring and static "dead guy" that no one could ever live up to.

...maybe Washington is a bad example.

But the point is that we're too scared about being honest and we're teaching students that America is the best. That means nothing to them. If we allowed them to challenge what they know by asking "Is America really the best move?" "Was Sam Adams overreacting?" "Were the British really that bad?" Then they would arrive at their own conclusions and thats when history gets interesting.

I was moderatly interested in my history classes but talking about the ]Boston Massacre was so cool because I was taught about propaganda and felt SYMPATHY for the British.

I'll tell ya, history is the gift that keeps giving because you never stop thinking about it.

But my original question was: How do you get people interested in and caring about American History? How do you read the Declaration to someone without him/her getting bored? How do you open their eyes?

Anonymous said...

BTW: I wasn't saying that Washington was boring. I just wish students were taught about the good and bad qualities. I wish other personalities were highlighted. Seriously. How many people can name more the two signers of any early founding document?

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Sorry, but Morgan Freeman, in that You Tube video, is wrong. The colonists were NOT about "revolution." They were, among other things, fighting for the rights that were being denied them as Englishmen. They were NOT "revolutionaries." Hope you'll visit our site and comment, please.

John Lofton, Editor,

Recovering Republican

David Mabry said...

I' m back!!!! Thanks Brad for posting this video. It might help all of you to know that this video was made for educational purposes. It was sent to American history teachers free of charge all across America about six years ago. I played the tape so much that I literally wore it out. The kids actually watch it.
oh, Recovering Republican seems to overlook the fact that by the Second Continental Congress may were convinved the only way to protect our rights was with an independent government.
I try to inspire a new group of students every year with, if not a love of American history, then al least an appreciation of it.