I was going to put up something about the mythical story of the Liberty Bell being rung on July 4, 1776 (a story invented in the mid-19th century by George Lippard of Philadelphia--the name "Liberty Bell" is actually a Civil War-era name regarding the abolition of slavery, not American independence), but I was unable to find my copy of Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History. Instead, here are links to a few other sites that have put up some nice Independence Day postings:
Radley Balko at The Agitator asks:
if forced to put the people who crow loudest about patriotism today on one side or the other in 1776, wouldn't you think most of them would have been defending empire, tradition, and the glory of the crown? I can almost read the National Review editorial now, inveighing against the radical, Godless-deist separatists!Catallarchy supplies six July 4th posts:
Here's another: Would the founders -- whom our government celebrates today -- have tolerated the government we have now? As Cowen notes, we rose up and revolted against a government that was far less intrusive, invasive, and -- at risk of hyperbole -- tyrannical than the one we have now. My guess is that alcohol prohibition alone would've been enough have Payne [sic] or Jefferson calling for arms. Never mind the New Deal, the Great Society, or today's encroaching police state.
Patri Friedman repeats last year's post about flag burning, still applicable today.
Brian Doss provides the key historical documents through a series of five posts:
A key passage from Magna Carta which he thinks may have been a seed for the American Revolution:
And if we shall not have corrected the transgression (or, in the event of our being out of the realm, if our justiciar shall not have corrected it) within forty days, reckoning from the time it has been intimated to us (or to our justiciar, if we should be out of the realm), the four barons aforesaid shall refer that matter to the rest of the five and twenty barons, and those five and twenty barons shall, together with the community of the whole realm, distrain and distress us in all possible ways, namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, and in any other way they can, until redress has been obtained as they deem fit, saving harmless our own person, and the persons of our queen and children; and when redress has been obtained, they shall resume their old relations towards us.King George's Proclamation of Rebellion.
A quote from and link to Thomas Paine's Common Sense.
Another post with the text of a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The final text of the Declaration of Independence.
Sheldon Richman quotes the Declaration, and asks whether it's time for another one...
Kevin Carson points out the irony of "the lapdog press praising an imperial war machine as the source of our liberties, given that we won our freedom and independence fighting a war against our own governments" and supplies a series of "real patriotic, freedom-loving quotes, in honor of the anti-authoritarian hell-raisers who really founded this country."
Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars describes a bit of the history around the Declaration of Independence, and the coincidence of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both dying on the 50th anniversary of its signing, and ends with a statement of commitment to the principles of liberty rather than to government:
The 4th of July, for me, has very little to do with patriotism or nationalism, feelings that seem to affect me far less than most men. My allegiance is not to the nation, it is to the set of principles upon which the nation was founded. When the government upholds those principles, I offer it praise; when it violates them, I offer my anger and my opposition. Those principles of individual liberty and equality before the law are, in my mind, sacred and inviolable. They are the cornerstone of my view of human civilization; whatever advances them has my support, whatever impedes them my opposition.The photos above are of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2006, and of the monument at John Hancock's grave in the Granary Burying Ground, Boston (where two other Declaration signers, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine, are also buried), on the afternoon of June 29, 2006.