On April 19, 1775, shots were heard from Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts; the Revolutionary War had begun, but The Continental Congress did not deliver a Declaration of Independence until July 4th of the following year.
It proclaimed—in part: “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 Grateful American Book Prize recommends David McCullough’s 1776.
Four days after its ratification, the first public reading of the Declaration took place at the Pennsylvania State House. Citizens were summoned by the sound of “the 2,000-pound copper-and-tin… ‘Liberty Bell’,” according to History.com.
Cast in 1752 England, the bell—stenciled with a message of, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land unto All the inhabitants thereof”—was shipped to Pennsylvania—and garnered incremental iconic status–because of its crack; a herald of liberty, according to the National Park Service.
The bell has “served to remind Americans of a time when they fought together for independence. Abolitionists, women’s suffrage advocates and Civil Rights leaders took inspiration from [its] inscription. Now a worldwide symbol, the…message of freedom remains reverberating and relevant.
For more information, The Grateful American Book Prize endorses Gary B. Nash’s The Liberty Bell.
On July 12, 1862 Abraham Lincoln formulated the Medal of Honor during the Civil War to honor “noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection.”
Eight months later Congress converted it into a permanent decoration and authorized it for all members of the armed forces, including commissioned officers.
The Grateful American Book Prize suggests The Medal of Honor: The Evolution of America’s Highest Military Decoration by Dwight S. Mears.
History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.