July 4th has passed. Leaving aside the nature of the holiday (which is important, but there’s only so much room here) we’ve now entered “that” time of summer, as we Arkansans know. Soon, very soon, the heat will become oppressive. It’s right now that companies with that sort of dress code tell people it’s okay to not wear a tie or jacket, that’s it’s simply too hot.
But even that, it’s July 5th, July 4 is over. We’ve had our day off, with any luck got to do some summer fun thing or things, maybe saw some fireworks, but that’s behind us now, time to buckle down, heat or no heat. It’s July 5th.
July 5, 1776 was a Friday. The Declaration of Independence had been signed the day before, and overnight a printer, John Dunlap, in Philadelphia (originally from Ireland) had been tasked with making 200 copies of the document for distribution, which took place that Friday. (They were known as “Dunlap Broadsides,” due to the printer/distributor’s name and the size of the paper.) The next day it would appear in its entirety in the Pennsylvania Evening Post newspaper, the first newspaper to publish the declaration.
The same day, Lisbon, long an ally of the British and not yet aware of the Declaration of Independance, printed a proof of its vote, the previous day, to ban all trade with the colonies (apparently hoping for greater British aid in its fight against Spain). Benjamin Franklin, acting as a United States diplomat, would later repair and grown the relationship with Lisbon in coming years.
Britain being able to read the declaration would still be a month away.
It’s been pointed out that July 5, 1776, was the last good day, as it were, of the American Revolution. Pulitzer Prize winning historian Jack Rakove points out that the flush from recent victories would soon fade for the colonists, as a British armada would soon arrive, turning the battle for independence into a much more dire event.
July 5, 1934, would be the day of striking longshoremen being shot by police during one of the most violent strikes of the labor movement’s early years, in San Francisco. Two were killed and 109 injured. One year later, in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act would be signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shaping the rights of both employers and employees. July 5, 1971, is when President Nixon would sign the law which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
July 5, 1937, was the day SPAM, that mostly-ham breakfast staple that went on to become the nickname for unwanted Internet Email (itself based on a old Monty Python routine which had an odd chorus - but then we are talking Monty Python - chanting “Spam” over and over) was introduced.
Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right” on July 5, 1954, and on July 5, 1962, Algeria gained independence from France.
Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, was born July 5, 1996.
Time to loosen our ties and leave our jackets in the car. Time to get on with things.