Happy birthday, America!
It’s wonderful to have something to celebrate, and the Fourth of July is surely the ultimate celebration for America. You’ve got your hot dogs, your hamburgers, your sparklers, your fireworks —
You’ve also got your philosophical and intellectual underpinnings of the great experiment in democracy that is the United States. Take some time this holiday to consider it all, from the First Charter issued by King James I of England to Frederick Douglass’ essay on what the holiday means to a slave in the land of liberty and brotherhood. The Essential Documents of American History, Volume 1: From Colonial Times to the Civil War is a collection of the source documents of interest.
It’s also a good time to turn your attention to everyone’s favorite star of the stage, Alexander Hamilton. The brain-child of performer Lin-Manual Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical has essentially taken over musical theatre in America, both in quantity and quality. And yes, Dover has a coloring book for that! This is a great way for kids to learn more about this writer, thinker, Founding Father, first secretary of the treasury, and all-around influencer who, unfortunately, died too young as the result of a duel. Hamilton was one of the authors of The Federalist Papers, a significant body of work written also by James Madison and John Jay. These arguments for the Constitution are what made the United States a strong country rather than a collection of governments that could fragment at any time, a strength that has been tested before and will find itself tested again as the pressures any society is subject to ebb and flow.
Speaking of the Constitution, it’s also a good time to study up on that magnificent document. Dover makes it easy to do so with the full text, a text that includes materials to help you understand exactly what this thing is that people understand, misunderstand, and continue to argue about.
There’s so much American history — and without a doubt so much American history still to be written. Until the next volumes are out, you can make your own study of the triumphs and tragedies that are part of our story. And you can find your guides here at Dover.