Tag: declaration of independence
There wasn’t supposed to be a Fourth of July celebration in the vision of John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers and our second President.
But in that Philadelphia summer of 1776, having successfully argued for the Second Continental Congress to declare the United States independent of Great Britain, Adams was excited.
The day after the Congress approved the resolution declaring independence on July 2, Adams penned one of the many letters he wrote home to his wife, Abigail. He wrote, in part:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
Adams got his pomp and parade and his bells and bonfires—and from one end of the continent to the other—but he was off by two days.
The Congress did indeed declare the United States independent on July 2, and Adams played no small part in it. The delegates debated Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration … [ Read all ]
October is American Archives Month! To celebrate, we’re running a series of “spotlights” on the many locations that make up the National Archives. Today’s post features the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and was written by Rick Blondo, management and program analyst at the National Archives.
The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights are on permanent display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Building. But up until 2003, some visitors could not easily see these important documents or the documents displayed along with them.
The design of the original display cases, built in 1935, meant that items were displayed flat or nearly flat with the front edge of the cases about 40 inches above the floor. This height and angle made it nearly impossible for young children or people in wheelchairs to see the documents.
New display cases, installed as part of a building-wide renovation from 2000 to 2005, make those documents easily viewable by all visitors. During the renovation, we learned there was no accessible design standard for exhibit display cases containing original archival records. We consulted with experts and used a mock-up to test different heights and angles of display.
In 1999, volunteers tested and scored the original display cases and a mock-up. Three volunteers—two adults and one child—were in wheelchairs. The other eight volunteers—six adults and two children—were ambulatory
Posted by Hilary on October 25, 2012, under - Constitution, Disability History, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, bill of rights, Constitution, Constitution 225, constitution day, declaration of independence, National archives and records administration recognition day, Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards
With Independence Day around the corner, we caught up with a few of this year’s speakers to get their thoughts on the Declaration of Independence, their connection to history, and celebrating at the National Archives.
Four descendants from the original signers will read the Declaration of Independence this year.
Three are members of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and one is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). While the Declaration of Independence holds special value for all Americans, the document holds a personal significance for the descendants of the signers.
“I feel a great sense of pride in this beautiful document,” said Laura Haines Belman, who is related to three of the Founding Fathers. “I’m happy to know it and to be reading it. There are certain phrases that have their own lives: ‘We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.’ As Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, when we gather three times a year in Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence is read aloud at least twice a year. That phrase is something we all know—it just rings in the ears.”
Belman is descended from three signers: Samuel Chase of Maryland, William Ellery of Rhode Island, and Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut. Her son, John Chase Belman, will … [ Read all ]
Posted by Victoria on June 29, 2012, under - Revolutionary War, News and Events.
Tags: declaration of independence, Fourth of July, genealogy, Independence Day, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
This is part of a series, written by Jim Zeender, devoted to letters written by the Founding Fathers in their own words and often in their own hand. Jim is a senior registrar in National Archives Exhibits.
John Adams of Massachusetts and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania crossed paths during “critical moments” in the earliest days of the republic. They met for the first time at the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1774, the first joint meeting of 12 American colonies (Georgia did not attend). Both were supporters of independence, Adams most publicly and Franklin more behind the scenes, though both were equally masterful wordsmiths.
During the Revolutionary War, Adams and Franklin worked together in Paris to obtain French support for the American cause, sometimes clashing on how best to do so. And they successfully negotiated peace with Great Britain. They saw each other for the last time in 1785, when Adams left Franklin in Paris for his assignment as the first Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain from the United States. During the years in between, their relationship had its ups and downs.
Their most intimate experience probably happened during an unsuccessful peace mission in September 1776. The British forces had recently raced across Long Island (New York) and almost destroyed the American Army. The British commander, Adm. Lord Richard Howe, then offered peace. Congress sent Adams, Franklin, and … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on June 20, 2012, under - Presidents, - Revolutionary War, Letters in the National Archives.
Tags: Benjamin Franklin, declaration of independence, First Continental Congress, george washington, Jim Zeender, John adams, Lord Howe, Massachusetts Historical Society, Philadelphia, revolutionary war, Thomas Paine
Today’s History Crush post is from archives technician Timothy Duskin, who confesses that his admiration for our first President has only increased since researching the records related to George Washington at the National Archives.
I have always considered George Washington to be the greatest Founding Father, the greatest President, and the greatest American. Two years ago, I gave a “Know Your Records” lecture on records related to George Washington at the National Archives. My sentiments were reinforced in the course of my research for that lecture and they have remained the same ever since.
As a major in the Virginia militia, Washington delivered the demand of Virginia Governor Dinwiddie to vacate the Ohio Valley to the French in 1753. He was responsible for starting the French and Indian War in 1754, when he became commander of the Virginia Regiment and eventually became the war’s foremost hero.
Washington’s political career began when he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1761, where he took up the cause of the North American colonies. He was then elected to the Continental Congress in 1774, which appointed him General and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army at the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775.
After the Boston Tea Party, counties in all of the colonies passed resolves to address their grievances with England. Washington and George Mason authored … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on April 25, 2012, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Articles of Confederation, Boston Tea Party, constitutional convention, declaration of independence, Fairfax County Resolves, Founding Father, French and Indian War, george washington, history crush, militia, Mount Vernon, President, Quasi-War, Reolutionary War, virginia, Virginia Declaration of Rights