The Fourth Of July In The 19th Century

Decent Essays

The Fourth of July is a holiday that typically involves joyous events such as barbeques, family gatherings, and quality picnics. Additionally, it is a time that can draw those who have drifted apart closer once again. However, in the 19th century as the racial and social divide deepened, the effectiveness of this national holiday came into question. Although the Fourth of July was supposed to pull the nation closer, it actually inclined some to question their place in America. This was supposed to be a unification holiday that made the country stronger. Instead, the national holiday carved a deep divide between the various groups that made up the population at that time. Furthermore, in the 19th century the Fourth of July established division between groups, cultivated questions about America’s progress as a whole, and ingrained national confusion about the purpose of this holiday. In the painting Independence Day in Center Square, painted by John Lewis Krimmel, the celebration of Fourth of July is depicted.1 This work, completed in 1819, takes place in the large city of Philadelphia. While looking at the painting, one can see Center Square, Philadelphia is full of raucous people that are supposed to be there to celebrate this holiday. However, if one looks closely at the painting, in the right bottom corner it can be seen that a woman tries desperately to hand out temperance posters. Obviously, this woman was not there to celebrate the victory over the British 43 years

Get Access