In honor of Independence Day, I thought I’d take a look into AAS’s manuscript collection to see how folks observed the holiday in the past. Sure, it’s all about barbeques and fireworks now, but closer to our independence the holiday probably meant something different to those who lived through the Revolution.
Elnathan Scofield (1773 – 1841) was a patriot through and through. He served in a multitude of government roles, from Postmaster of Lancaster, Ohio, to a Captain in the Ohio militia. He even served terms in both branches of the Ohio legislature. Included in his collection of papers here at AAS is a list of 18 toasts for the 4th. Whether he actually recited these toasts at a dinner (or BBQ!) we can’t say. But it’s interesting to see the thoughts stirred up on this holiday, and how appropriate and applicable they still are today. Below are some of my favorites – feel free to use them during your celebrations today!
The 4th of July, may its blessing be perpetuated to the latest posterity.
The President of the U states May the good of his country ever be his Aim
The Union of the states, cemented by the blood of our fathers, may it be perpetual
The Militia of the U States, in peace the industrious citizen, in War an embattled host
The heroes who have bled and died, for their countrys liberty, may fame stamp immortality on their names
So whatever your opinions and politics, I think we can all agree to honor our nation on this most patriotic of patriotic holidays, and raise a glass to our nation, to its history, and to its future. Happy 4th everyone!