Discerning Moment: Timeless Truths from America's Treasury

John Trumbull, The Declaration of Independence, 1817

The Real Meaning of
the Fourth of July

On Monday, we celebrate one of the most solemn days in American history, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was a transforming moment in the history of North America, which changed the British colonies into a self-determining nation.

It is easy today, 240 years later, amidst the celebratory parties, barbecues, and fireworks displays, to forget that American independence was not inevitable and did not happen overnight. It was a hard-won victory that required a struggle of more than 30 years and great personal sacrifice from many men and women. And on July 4, 1776, that victory still hung in the balance.

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