How July 4 Threatened the Confederacy

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (diane39/Getty Images)
The Declaration of Independence, not the ratification of the Constitution, marks the nation’s birth. That truth helped save the Union and free the slaves.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O ne of the most regrettable developments of this summer in the United States is the way in which certain commentators have tried to pit the spirit of Juneteenth against the spirit of July 4, as if the two were in tension with one another.

In fact, they are not. The essential concord that exists between the two holidays has been pointed out by other writers who stress that the final extirpation of slavery on Juneteenth was a follow-through on the promises and principles of July 4, not a repudiation of them. But in fact, the events of July 4, 1776, relate

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