June 30, 2015

Remembering Our History on the 4th

When national holidays roll around I always start thinking of our history. Our country's history.

The teacher in me is rearing its head, sorry... I just feel so strongly about knowing history. Here we go, some bits and pieces for you.
Flag info.

The Mayflower"Within the span of a hundred years, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a tide of emigration -one of the great folk wanderings of history-swept from Europe to America. This movement, impelled by powerful and diverse motivations, built a nation out of a wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent."
"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possess the right of self-government." -Thomas Jefferson, 1790

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Declaration of Independence, 
July 4, 1716 

The Declaration of Independence
(1795) by John Trumbull
When I say our history, I mean the collective history that we as citizens of the united states have. 

This is a perfect time for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to chat with the children a little bit about how our 4th of July celebration came to be celebrated. What is Independence Day? Why do we celebrate Independence day?  The young ones know about cookouts, fireworks, and maybe some patriotic songs. But do they know about the story behind Independence Day? Some ideas.  

Schoolhouse Rock...No More Kings

Schoolhouse Rock...The Constitution, the Preamble

Schoolhouse Rock...Shot Heard Round the World


Sing along for kids, with lyrics. 
You're a grand old flag.

Star Spangled Banner, with Lyrics, for children.

(Visit the Charters of Freedom Documents at www.archives.gov for primary source info and a refresher about our history.)

Whether you or your parents are first generation, or whether you and your ancestors have been here for generations, let us celebrate the hard work and struggle of those who labored and gave birth to our country. We mark that birth/ birthday as July 4th each year. 1776-2015.

What I think of is how my ancestors came to this country in the sixteen hundreds and carved a place for themselves and their families out of rough rugged land. I am in awe.

Way back in our early colonial days...here is what was going on across the pond in the seventeen seventies! 

We were "subjects" of the king! 

And it looks like most of us did not like being "subjects." Most of us...being our ancestors who fought the British over taxation, representation, and freedom in general. 


source: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_of_freedom_1.html#

"In 1761, fifteen years before the United States of America burst onto the world stage with the Declaration of Independence, the American colonists were loyal British subjects who celebrated the coronation of their new King, George III. The colonies that stretched from present-day Maine to Georgia were distinctly English in character although they had been settled by Scots, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, Africans, French, Germans, and Swiss, as well as English.
As English men and women, the American colonists were heirs to the thirteenth-century English document, the Magna Carta, which established the principles that no one is above the law (not even the King), and that no one can take away certain rights. So in 1763, when the King began to assert his authority over the colonies to make them share the cost of the Seven Years' War England had just fought and won, the English colonists protested by invoking their rights as free men and loyal subjects. It was only after a decade of repeated efforts on the part of the colonists to defend their rights that they resorted to armed conflict and, eventually, to the unthinkable–separation from the motherland." source 
Three months after the King declared every rebel a traitor, and with a reward posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders, the delegates to Congress adopted these strict rules of secrecy to protect the cause of American liberty and their own lives.             
This document bears the signatures of eighty-seven delegates; thirty-nine signed on November 9, and the other delegates signed as they reported to Congress.
Source, National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention
In the Old Raleigh Tavern, a correspondence committee is at work.
Hand colored engraing after illustration by Howard Pyle, ca. 1896

"The sole governing authority presiding over the tumultuous events of the American Revolution between 1774 and 1789 was a body known as Congress. With no power to regulate commerce or lay taxes, and with little ability to enforce any of its decisions, this group, representing the thirteen colonies, declared independence, conducted a war that defeated one of the greatest military powers of its day, and invented a new political entity that became a sovereign independent nation. Its members pondered everything from the rightness of independence to the number of flints needed by the armies–sometimes with the enemy not far from their doorstep. Asserting their rights, they found themselves labeled as traitors.
The fifty-four men who composed the First Continental Congress represented different interests, religions, and regions; they held conflicting opinions as to how best to restore their rights. Most did not know each other; some did not like each other. With no history of successful cooperation, they struggled to overcome their differences and, without any way of knowing if the future held success or nooses for them all, they started down a long and perilous road toward independence." source
For whatever reason...three of my four family groups migrated to Virginia in the early to mid sixteen hundreds. Ellis, Hansford, Jeter.    
I think of how my ancestors started living in the colony of Virginia back in the early sixteen hundreds, and how they migrated to what is now Kentucky. In retrospect they did not travel that far, but on foot, horseback, or wagon, I bet it seemed like quite a distance. Back then Kentucky county in Virginia was the far west! There were no roads to speak of in the late seventeen hundreds. Buffalo trails were about it. 

One of my ancestors was a surveyor who walked miles and miles plotting out thousands of acres in Kentucky. He was paid in acreage too. Other ancestors were farmers, and such. Anyone who worked the land sure has my respect. Those early years were surely hard ones.

English heritage, and second sons
English colonists considered members of the First Families of Virginia emigrated to the new Colony of Virginia. Their migration took place from the settlement of Jamestown through the English Civil War and English Interregnum period (1642–1660). Some royalists left England on the accession to power of Oliver Cromwell and his Parliament. Because most of Virginia's leading families recognized Charles II as King following the execution of Charles I in 1649, Charles II reputedly called Virginia his "Old Dominion" – a nickname that endures today. The affinity of many early supposedly aristocratic Virginia settlers for the Crown led to the term "distressed Cavaliers", often applied to the Virginia oligarchy. Some Cavaliers who served under King Charles I fled to Virginia. FFVs often refer to Virginia as "Cavalier Country". These men were offered rewards of land, etc., by King Charles II, but most who had settled in Virginia stayed in Virginia.
Many of such early settlers in Virginia were so-called "Second Sons".  Primogeniture favored the first sons' inheriting lands and titles in England. Second or third sons went out to the colonies to make their fortune, or entered the military and the clergy. Tidewater Virginia evolved as a society descended from second or third sons of English gentry who inherited land grants or land in Virginia. They formed part of what became the southern elite in America. (source Wikipedia)
However, whenever, or wherever your story began in this, our country, please wave a flag, roast a hot dog, watch a parade, and/or light some fireworks to celebrate our hard fought independence! 

Many patriots were lost in order to have that independence. I often wondered what my life would have been like if I time traveled back to the mid to late seventeen hundreds. Hard is the word that comes to my mind. 

               Switching class topics a bit...

Federal Depository Libraries. 
Do you have one near you?
Find your nearest Federal Depository Library by clicking on your state if you want to visit one in person. Of course these days...online is easy too. http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp

When I worked in our local college library a couple of years ago I was over the "government documents" collection. (We had a Federal Depository Library within the regular college library.) Can you imagine the vastness of documents? I could not until I took on the job. 

Here are a few links that might interest you, including Ben's Guide. It is a child's guide to basic U.S. government. I actually think some older kids, i.e. adults, could benefit from Ben's Guide as a refresher course too. ha!

Current government info is being digitized as it is written, but it will take time for past docs to be digitized and made available online. Great strides are being made in making gov info available to people...so please take advantage when you have the time to browse, or search a topic of your choosing. An educated population is a smart population! (Oh My, that sure sounded like the teacher in me coming out!)

So, while we celebrate our country's independence on the 4th of July let us also be mindful of the fact that we need to stay informed and educated about our government. 

To help you, here are some links for you to browse regarding the Federal Depository Library System and the information it makes available to you via the Federal digital System, and the Gov printing office.  

So, after you celebrate the 4th find a few minutes to check out your government's information stacks. Be an informed citizen! Your tax dollars at work. :-)

Here is a topic that has been in the news for a few years now. If you want to see the hundreds of pages of text and what the act actually says just click on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act below.

Congress, An Act, Entitled
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act PUBLIC LAW 111–148—MAR. 23, 2010 124 STAT. 119 Public Law 111–148 111th 
FDsys Banner

Government Printing Office Webpage

U.S. Gov Bookstore Items for purchase.

Flag related information  Prepare for lots of reading!

Congressional Reports Page You will be amazed.

Hire More Heros Act of 2015

Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government  for kids 6 to 106

banner for Ben's Guide

Branch Mania Game...test your knowledge of the branches of government.  www.fdsys.gov


Gov E-Books

Basic search video...how to. Learn how to search the gov publications database of info. Looking for patent info? Looking for info on recent laws? Congressional reports?  http://media.gpo.gov/fdsys/basicsearch.html

Happy 4th of July to you and yours! 

And my fun favorite...
I'm just a Bill, on Capitol Hill. 
How many of you remember the School House Rock cartoons on Saturday mornings? 

I will be back with fun pics the next time. Hopefully today's "lecture" class has not been too much for you. ha! I just felt motivated to prepare a history lesson...though I am only certified to teach French. ha!

I think everyone should know history. And that maybe we as parents, teachers, and students, are not placing enough emphasis on the learning, reading, and understanding of country's history. Kids soak up history like sponges when we take them to historical sites or share stories. 

Also...you might like to look at this post.
Setting a red white and blue table.

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My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.

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