Fourth of July!
IntroductionTwo Fourth of July observances, both in Massachusetts, are held twenty-one years apart. They make quite different uses of the symbolism of this day. Much has happened in Massachusetts and in the nation in the two decades between the gatherings.
Selection from the Massachusetts Historical Society: No Slavery! Fourth of July! Worcester: printed by Earle & Drew, .
Selection from the Library of Congress: Order of Services at the Celebration of American Independence in the Old South Church, July 4, 1833.
Questions to Consider
- Read the "Original Ode" (V). What should the sons never "divide"? Who would they be betraying, and why?
- Why is the 1854 meeting one where people should feel "humiliation," not a sense of celebration? Who is being betrayed in this case?
- Based on the documents (again using just the "Ode"), what are people worried about in 1833? What are they worried about in 1854?
- What historical events or changes, especially in the 1850s, might explain the differences in what people consider the greatest threats to America as described in the two documents?
- Where is the 1833 meeting being held? What is the significance of that spot, and how might that have a bearing on the meeting?
- Where is the 1854 meeting being held, and how might that setting affect the tone of the meeting? Why is transportation so important that it is announced on the broadside?
- How is the Fourth of July being memorialized in the meeting at Old South? What is its meaning for the people writing and hearing the "Ode"?
- How is the Fourth of July being memorialized in the meeting in Framingham? What is its meaning for the organizers and speakers at this gathering? Research the list of "eminent speakers" – what are the key points that they make?
- What appears to be the meaning of "freedom" to the people attending the 1833 meeting? How would they guard that freedom? What might be the meaning of "freedom" to the people attending the 1854 meeting? How would they guard that freedom?
- How do the contents of the two documents delineate the opposing principles that will divide the people of the North, even as they agree that slavery is wrong?