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Chapter 24 - 1776

For many the 4th of July is just time off in the middle of the week but I think it is important to learn and reflect on how July 4th impacts us as Americans. The Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776 and, like any other major event, it was not without controversy and its detractors at the time. Basically the Declaration declared that the 13 colonies were no longer the property of and subject to George III of England. Instead they were free, united, and independent states. While Congress debated and tweaked the wording of the document, finally they had an instrument they all could agree on. This, of course, led to a ratcheting up of British troops in the colonies and a war that lasted from skirmishes in 1775 to British surrender in 1783.

If you want to get your history on here are some good nonfiction and fiction books for the 4th of July celebration.

1776 by David McCullough - David McCullough was a terrific historian who covered so many historical people and events in his books. In this one he tells both sides of the story, not only why Great Britain was forced to take their rebellious colonies to war but also why George Washington was the man chosen to lead the American side.

The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America by Gary B. Nash - America had no military, no officers, and little in the way of large cannons, so how did we possibly win the Revolution. Washington fashioned his armies out of men from all classes of society and, in doing so, created a shared bond and vision for the united colonies. This book tells the good, the bad, and the ugly of the revolution.

I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott - Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton was a formidable and revolutionary woman in her own right. Her story puts her right in the midst of the war as she followed her husband from place to place as the army moved. This is a novelized account of her life.

The Traitor's Wife by Alison Pataki - Pataki's novel is the story of Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a prestigious family and the wife of one of America's most notorious traitors, Benedict Arnold. What made Arnold betray all that he knew, did his wife know about it before, and what became of his family after he was hanged? Therein lies the tale!

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts - The late Cokie Roberts published this nonfiction book in 2005 and it is still one of my favorite history reads. Using private letters, diaries, journals and even recipes, Roberts tells the stories of the women who contributed to the founding of the nation. Women like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington are all highlighted as well as their contributions to America.

Do you have any favorite Revolutionary War or Founding of America books you recommend? Let me know.


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