The 4th of July: An American Independence
July 1, 2022
About 246 years ago, what is now known as the only global superpower, was once a colony of the great British Empire. And for 176 years, the Land of Liberty bowed to the whims of the English Crown, up until the Second Continental Congress officially adopted and ratified the Declaration of Independence.
Independence Day is one of the most celebrated American holidays that is often accentuated by colorful parades during the day and gleaming fireworks at night. As much as the 4th July marks a very significant part of American history, a lot of kids these days know very little as to what it really stands for. Through this article, you can take your kids on a short trip down memory lane that spans centuries of symbolic struggle and perseverance.
The American Flag
Of course, the entire Independence Day celebration is not without its main symbol - the American Flag. Kids love seeing it being hung and waved but know little behind its stars and stripes. As a parent, it is quite imperative to teach your kids the true meaning embedded deeply within each star and stripe.
Flags are among the most respected and most expressive symbols there are. They communicate their true meaning through the shapes and colors that they come with. And in the case of the American flag, symbolism boils down to its stars and shapes.
The flag is composed of seven red and six white alternating horizontal stripes which represent the 13 original colonies that declared their independence from the English Crown. These 13 settlements were established by the British under the pretext of profit, glory, and freedom of faith. These were the states of Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
On the other hand, the 50 stars represent the current number of states in the union. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution vested authority to the Congress in admitting new states into the union. After the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1783, western territories started joining the union one after the other. Through time, the original thirteen states of the new found government grew to fifty with Delaware being the first to join in 1787 and Hawaii being the last on the 21st of August in 1959.
Introduce to your child who Betsy Ross is and her important role in history through this First American Flag worksheet. On the other hand, the Independence Day Arrays will help show the ropes in understanding the difference between a row and a column.
The Continental Congress
All of the thirteen colonies were established with their own governments. However, the British Parliament wouldn’t let the American colonies govern on their own. The English Crown controlled these governments and imposed high taxes as the colonists were barred from having a voice in the council. And this was just one of the long list of abuses which helped spur the American Revolution.
Between September 5 and October 26, 1774, representatives of the twelve of the thirteen American colonies congregated in Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to set the course of America’s future. These delegates convened in order for their governments to coordinate their resistance against British rule. The main highlight of the first continental congress was the formation of the Declaration of Rights and Grievances and the agreement to boycott British imports by December of 1774.
The Committee of Five
The congregation of the first continental congress agreed to reconvene by May in the following year. And on the 10th of May, 1775, delegates from all the thirteen colonies met inside the Independence Hall to prepare themselves for war against the British Empire. By June 14, 1775, the congress established their own Continental Army through conscription. And five days later, the congress appointed George Washington as the commander in chief of its army. The congress also created its own navy, appointed ambassadors, and printed its own currency.
By June 11, 1775, the second continental congress appointed a five-member committee which was entrusted with the sole task of drafting the Declaration of Independence. More popularly known as the Committee of Five, the council had Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York as its members. The committee then unanimously suggested for Thomas Jefferson to produce a draft of the Declaration of Independence which was then reviewed by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. With some revisions made by Franklin and Adams, the Declaration of Independence was then submitted to the Congress which ratified it on July 4, 1776. After which, all of the 13 colonies severed their ties with the British Empire.
Help your child learn more about the former US President through this fun Thomas Jefferson Timeline worksheet. This engaging workbook will enlighten your child on the key events of the primary draftsman of the Declaration of Independence.
The Revolutionary War lasted for more than seven years (1775-1783). Although fighting continued until 1783, it was the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and 8,000 of his soldiers in Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1871 that the Americans, through the help of French allies, had effectively won the war. Later on June 28, 1870, the US Congress declared the 4th of July as a federal holiday. Reliving history is also about Mathematics. Sharpen your child’s arithmetic skills with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson on their side.