By the middle of the 1700s, the 13 colonies that made up part of England's empire in the New World were finding it difficult to be ruled by a king 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. They were tired of the taxes imposed upon them. But independence was a gradual and painful process. The colonists could not forget that they were British citizens and that they owed allegiance to King George III.
A "tea party" and a "Massacre" were two events that hurried destiny.
Along with general unrest these events united the colonists. In 1767 a tea company in India, owned by England, was losing money. To save the company, England levied a tax on tea sold in the colonies in 1773. Partly as a joke, Samuel Adams and other Bostonians dressed up as Indians and dumped a cargo of the India Company Tea into the Massachusetts Bay. King George III did not think it was funny, nor did he lift the tax on tea. In the Boston harbor, British soldiers were jeered and stoned by colonists who thought the soldiers had been sent to watch them. The soldiers fired into the crowd and killed a few citizens. The colonists exaggerated the number killed and called it a massacre.
The Fireworks FamilyNew Castle, Pennsylvania, is home to the Vitale Fireworks Display Company, responsible for more than one thousand fireworks shows every year. In 1922 Constantino Vitale brought his expertise at making fireworks from Italy to the United States. He passed his secrets on to his four sons, and since then the company has been making Americans exclaim "ooohhh" and "aaahhhh" at the lighted colors in the sky on July 4 and other occasions.
Yankee DoodleStrangely, this patriotic song has derogatory origins. The music and words go back to 15th century Holland, as a harvesting song that began, "Yanker dudel doodle down." In England, the tune was used for a nursery rhyme, and later a song making fun of Puritan church leader Oliver Cromwell, because "Yankee" might be a mispronunciation of the word "English," and "doodle" refers to a dumb person.
America, The BeautifulEvery so often a movement is started to make "America the Beautiful" the national anthem instead of "The Star-Spangled Banner," largely because it was not written as a result of a war. The tune is easier to sing and the whole country is praised, not only the flag. Katherine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, rode in a horse-drawn wagon up Pike's Peak, a mountaintop-in Colorado in 1893. She saw a view of the mountains that few people saw in those days and was inspired by her glimpse the "spacious skies" and "purple mountains" to write a poem, which became the first verse of the song. The public loved the poem, and Miss Bates was encouraged to set it to music She chose the music of a hymn by Samuel Ward.
~ More of this feature: The Fireworks Family, Yankee Doodle& America the BeautifulContinue reading much more here.