By Len Travers
Public rituals have consistently held an important position in American tradition. via some distance the noisiest and hottest of those to emerge within the nation's early years used to be Independence Day. After a decade of fitful begins, the Fourth of July eclipsed neighborhood and neighborhood patriotic observances to develop into the finest "American Jubilee." Celebrating the Fourth presents a historical past of this vacation and explores its position in shaping a countrywide identification and realization in 3 towns - Boston, Charleston, and Philadelphia - throughout the first fifty years of the yankee republic. Independence Day celebrations justified, tested, and helped retain nationalism between humans unused to delivering political allegiance past their very own nation borders. because the observances grew to become more and more well known and symbolically vital, political partisans competed hotly for the suitable to regulate the that means of the gala's.
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Additional resources for Celebrating the fourth: Independence Day and the rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic
31 Page 25 During the remainder of the war years there was never again a Fourth of July celebration in Philadelphia like that of 1777. Within a few months of its first Independence Day, Philadelphia was occupied by British troops. When these withdrew from the city in June 1778, they left it in a considerably degraded state, physically and economically. Private houses and public buildings suffered badly from the billeting of soldiers and their animals, and trade was temporarily ruined. Congress officially observed the Fourth of July with a "grand festival" at City Tavern, and numerous cannon were fired to dispel rumors of gunpowder shortages, but the rest of Philadelphia was less able to contribute materially.
Compounding Janson's misery were his landlady's three daughters. No sooner, it seemed to him, had he fallen asleep when one of them, "a pert virgin," rapped on his door and brightly demanded that he rise and join the festivities. Outside, church bells rang and cannon from nearby Fort Hill fired salutes; only Janson's utter exhaustion could have allowed him to sleep through the din. Struggling to collect his thoughts, he recalled that this day was July 4the Americans' In- Page 2 dependence Dayand that he had arrived just in time for it.
10 The challenge facing Americans today is to appreciate the unconsciously accepted place of private and especially public ritual in their past and present. In his introductory work in ritual studies, anthropologist Ronald Grimes referred to a "bewilderment" factor that handicaps the modern student of ritual. "11 I disagree. Americans are less self-consciously ritualistic than their ancestors, perhaps, but they are still enthusiastically committed to flag-waving, marching, ribbon-wearing, dressing their windows, bedecking their cars with bumper stickers, and wearing apparel emblazoned with popular slogans or the logos of their favorite sports teams.
Celebrating the fourth: Independence Day and the rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic by Len Travers