Stars, Stripes, and History

Posted on June 27, 2016

By Candy Jones-Guerin

Our Nation’s largest birthday celebration is just around the corner and we’re excited to get the party started!

On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, we don our red, white, and blue to pay homage and celebrate with food, friends, and fireworks.

There are also a lot of lesser known facts about this important day. Take note of these and surprise whomever you celebrate with.

Did you know…

  • Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap.
  • Including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a total of three US presidents have died on July 4th. James Monroe is the third president to share this fate.
  • According to author Kenneth C. Davis, July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
  • Due to concerns about cracking the iconic instrument, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.

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History in the Making

Posted on June 13, 2016

By Debra Kirby

Last week an important milestone was reached in U.S. history when Hillary Clinton became the first woman to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. Eight years earlier, Barack Obama celebrated a similar first when he became the first African-American to win the Democratic nomination for United States president.

Many other countries throughout the world have reached these milestones years ago, but did you know that the first country to elect a black female president was Liberia? Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became that country’s first female president in 2006. Learn more about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia, and the history around the people and events that helped pave the way for current groundbreakers. Following are just a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Did you know that Liberia was founded in 1822 as a colony for freed slaves from the United States, or that Liberians declared their nation to be a republic in 1847? Learn more about the fascinating history of Liberia’s founding in World History In Context.

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Sending Birthday Wishes to the “Father of our Country”

Posted on February 18, 2016

Did you know that according to the then-used Julian calendar, George Washington’s birthday was actually February 11, 1731?  It wasn’t until Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar that his birthday was moved 11 days later to February 22.

The “Father of our Country” was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States (1789-1797) and during that time shaped the course of our country. From the Revolutionary War to the Constitution, George Washington made his mark on history.

Take some time this month to browse Gale’s titles about the life and times of this great American figure and while you are there, let us know how you implement these resources in your classroom!

American Eras: Primary Sources: Development of a Nation (1783-1815), 1st Edition
February 2015
This volume in the student-friendly American Eras: Primary Sources series documents the dramatic period when the federal government and the U.S. Constitution were established. This volume features personal letters, memoirs, laws, sermons, speeches, works of literature, and many other primary source types. Together these sources show the diversity of the American experience.

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