A Word About Independence Day in The Civil War

As we all celebrate the the Fourth of July Independence Day, let us also remember that Independence Day was considered an important cleebration duirng the Civil War in both the north and the south. In the North, Indpendence Day was symbollic for preserving the union. In the South, it represented a time of celebrating the Founding Fathers and the constitutional rights and ideas of independence.

“The Fourth of July as a celebration centered on conceptions of American identity and about the core concepts of America,” says historian Jared Jefferson Bond. “With the celebration of the Fourth of July, both sides of the war sought to preserve their right tto observe and honor what they felt was the true vision of America.”

Independence Day in the Confederacy was celebrated until 1863, as an official holiday, but newspapers continued to to “assert the South’s right to the principles set forth by the Declaration of Inddpendence and to the celebration of the Foruth of July,” Bond says.

On July 4, 1865 the Fourth of July was fervently celebrated by the Northerners.  The New Hampshire Sentinel wrote: “Never before since the birth of the nation, had we so abundant cause for public rejoicing as now. Formerly we rejoiced in a country gained; now, in a country gained and a country saved.” (“The fourth of July, 1865 – Welcome to the Soldiers,” The New hampshire Sentinel, July 6, 1865.)

So today let’s all celebrate our heritage, our nation, and the principles for which our nation was founded, and for which many of our soldiers fought and died to defend our freedoms.

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Bond, Jared Jefferson. “Competing Vision of  America: The Fourth of July during the Civil War,” Masters thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 9, 32.

“The Fourth of July, 1865 – Welcome to the Soldiers,” The New Hampshire Sentinel, July 6, 1865.

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One Response to A Word About Independence Day in The Civil War

  1. Meg Thompson says:

    Celebrating the 4th was a conundrum for the South. Many saw it as just another “Yankee holiday.” Perhaps had the bid for a Confederacy been successful, the South would have developed its own set of patriotic celebrations.

    I have never read anything about keeping the 4th of July at Gettysburg after the battle. I am thinking that everyone was unearthly sick of aerial bursts and loud, exploding noises.

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