Fifth of July is also a day to celebrate, say historians

Historians in the News

...The unassuming date could also merit respect for providing a pair of tidy bookends in the United States labor movement. In 1934, police officers in San Francisco opened fire on striking longshoreman in one of the country’s most significant and violent labor clashes. On the same date a year later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteeing the rights of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers.

“That’s a big moment in American labor history, absolutely,” said Joshua B. Freeman, a labor historian at the City University of New York....

With the all festivals and flags and family, it is easy to forget that all was not wine and roses in America on July 5, 1776.

On that day, it was not even widely known yet that independence had been declared. Americans had enjoyed a period of advantage in the war, but a British armada would soon arrive and change the war’s course, said Jack Rakove, a professor of history at Stanford University and the author of a new book, “Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America.”

“It’s a funny period in one sense,” Mr. Rakove said. “The war goes terribly for the Americans for the rest of the year.”
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