How to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Posted on Jun 29 2009 in General by

liberty-bellThe following is reprinted from a June 27, 2008, WallBuilders’ e-mail newsletter. To receive future information about historical issues and biblical values in the culture, to contribute to their ministry, or to view their other resources, visit

Born in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, America has had only one form of government. Neither our closest allies nor our fiercest enemies have experienced the stability with which God has blessed America.

When the Founders approved the Declaration of Independence in 1776, John Adams suggested the way in which the day should be celebrated. We still follow his suggestion that the Fourth “be solemnized with pomp and parade — with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other,” but we seem to have forgotten his recommendation that the day “be commemorated as a day of solemn deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

The spiritual element in celebrating the Fourth was important to the Founding Fathers and was practiced by Americans for generations afterwards. In fact, in his 1837 Fourth of July speech, John Quincy Adams observed:

In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. It forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation. The Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth — it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.

According to John Quincy Adams, on the Fourth of July the Founders took the precepts of Christ that came into the world through His birth and incorporated those principles into civil government.

This is an excellent year to recover the original spirit of the celebration of the Fourth of July. We therefore recommend that in this year’s celebration:

  1. Take time to honor and thank God on the Fourth — make it a day celebrated “with solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
  2. Read the Declaration of Independence. Shortly after the Founders originally approved the Declaration, they took it outside and read it aloud to the assembled crowd; and George Washington also had it read aloud in each regiment of the Continental Army. Even then it was important to know the reasons for our founding, and it remains no less important today.
  3. Read John Quincy Adams’ fabulous 1837 Fourth of July oration.
  4. Honor the memory of those (past and present) who sacrificed so much for our country. In fact, take one name that you do not know from among the 56 signers of the Declaration (you can find the list of signers here) and look online for a brief biography of that one signer and thus familiarize yourself with yet another early patriot.

If you are interested in reading other famous patriotic orations about the Fourth of July, or if you want to know more about each of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, you can order our two books on these subjects (Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches and Sermons and Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence) at a special 25% discount. This discount [is] available through the end of July! [Note: This e-mail was originally written in 2008; however, it appears the items are on sale again this July. See the website for the details of this year's sale.]

Enjoy your Fourth of July!

(By the way, if you know of others who might enjoy learning of God’s hand in America’s history, have them sign up on the WallBuilders’ website for these periodic email pieces.)

God bless!

David Barton

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