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Fine Arts Friday: the Art of America’s Founding

John Adams was (almost) right about this glorious day:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Of course we do celebrate with “pomp and parade” etc., but on the fourth when it was formally adopted, not on the second when the final draft was presented. Minor quibble.

So today I give you the Art of America’s Founding!

Of course, the most famous depiction of America’s founding document is not of the final presentation or the adoption, but when the five member drafting committee presented the first draft to the Second Continental Congress on June 28. (What, you thought it was just Jefferson? The other guys are John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin.)  The painting by John Trumbull hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol Building and is also found on the back of the two dollar bill. I do love the two dollar bill, it confuses the simple.

Trumbull DofI small

I also like this painting of three of the members of the committee working on the document. Two questions: what’s with the ship? And did Jean Ferris have something against guys named Robert?


While many people consider the “Overture of 1812” to be the quintessential Independence Day music, Tchaikovsky actually wrote that about the war between Russian and France. So let’s go with something truly American: John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

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Our hymn* of course is “God Bless America,” sung by Martina McBride.

And the folksong* “America the Beautiful” performed by the amazing Ray Charles:

Of course the beautiful work of art that started all the fireworks. If you can’t watch it, be sure to read the whole thing today.

Happy 238th, America! Keep being beautiful. Please.

* I realize people may quibble with my categories here. Have fun with that.

One response to “Fine Arts Friday: the Art of America’s Founding”

  1. […] more Fourth of July fun, here are some independence-themed songs, art, and the poem of our people (A.K.A. the Declaration of […]

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