It has been 238 years since the Declaration of Independence, declared in Philadelphia on this day in 1776.
Some of the Fourth of Julys that have followed have been more significant than others.
In 1801, the 25th anniversary, the nation celebrated the first turnover of government to the opposition being conducted successfully four months earlier, as Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Adams.
In 1826, the 50th anniversary, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both intimately involved in the document’s formulation, died, during the administration of Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams.
In 1831, the 55th anniversary, President James Monroe died, marking three of the first five Presidents dying on Independence Day, but it has never occurred since then. This death occurred during the administration of Andrew Jackson.
In 1876, the nation celebrated its first century of independence during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant.
In 1901, the 125th anniversary, the nation celebrated the new century, during the administration of William McKinley.
In 1976, the bicentennial was celebrated during the administration of Gerald Ford.
In 2001, the 225th anniversary was celebrated during the administration of George W. Bush.
But none of these anniversaries mattered as much as July 4, 1863, the 87th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, as the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, fought the three previous days, and won on July 3 by the Union Army over the Confederacy, insured that the Union would be preserved, the ultimate purpose of Abraham Lincoln leading the nation into the Civil War in 1861. The last real chance of the South to win independence was lost, although the war continued for another 21 months.
So July 4, 1863 is more to be celebrated than any other July 4, and we must remain thankful that those who wanted to break up the United States were overcome. We must be ready to react against any threat of further secession put forth by right wing propagandists who want America to lose its whole purpose of creation, the establishment of a democracy which would be the beacon for people all around the world, who would want to come here and be part of the American experiment in freedom. It is immigration that makes, and has made, America the great nation that it is!