The Month of July in History
By Mickey Dunaway | Reprinted with Permission by Limitless Magazine | Cornelius, NC
July is a month of memorable events. We celebrate July 4 nationwide, but you will find as you read a bit further that July 1-4 holds a most unique place in our history and not just because it is Independence Day.
|July 1-3, 1863||The Battle of Gettysburg||28,000 (37%) Confederate dead, wounded, and missing 23,000 (26%) Union dead, wounded and missing|
|July 4, 1775||The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was approved by the Continental Congress||It should be our duty as citizens to find a quiet place before every July 4 and read the Declaration of Independence, which is only 32 sentences long.|
|July 4, 1831||Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe died on the same day, hours apart.||Below in my Historical Note, I mention how many events central to the success of our country occurred from July 1-4. These three Founding Fathers who died on this day speak even more to our country’s exceptional and unmatched nature.|
|July 4, 1863||Union Army captures Vicksburg, MS—last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.|
|IMPORTANT HISTORICAL NOTE||Grant’s victory at Vicksburg prevented Confederate war materiel from being offloaded at Vicksburg bound for the eastern front and General Lee. His victory led to his promotion as Commander of Union forces. General Grant was a different kind of military leader. He knew that his most formidable resource was not weapons but the Union army’s size in the East compared to Confederates. Grant was often openly distraught at the tragic numbers of Union lives lost fighting against Lee, but he knew his tactic was necessary to win the war and unify the Union. With these events occurring on July 1-3 and July 4, we can see just how vital this short period was to our country. Had Grant lost Vicksburg and had Lee won at Gettysburg, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would have likely captured Washington, D.C., and sued for peace, establishing the Confederacy as a separate nation.|
|July 7, 1898||The U.S. annexed Hawaii. In 1900 Congress made the Islands a U.S. territory.||In our current time of moral reflection in our country, the despicable actions imposed on the people and this land of paradise often go unmentioned. Pacific Islander Lives Matter, too.|
|July 9, 1868||The 14th Amendment was ratified.||The 14th Amendment means every citizen is protected not just from the Federal government but also from the actions of every state and local government. Equal Protection is the foundation of Voting Rights, Civil Rights, and Title IX. Just note a few of the concerns we see being played out today.|
|July 10, 1509||John Calvin was born in Noyon, France, and became the founder of the Presbyterian Church.||When I arrived in Charlotte back in 2005, it seemed like there was a Presbyterian Church on every block. In fact, there are 40 Presbyterian churches in the Charlotte Presbytery which includes surrounding counties. The Rev. Billy Graham was raised in the Presbyterian Church.|
|July 16, 1945||The experimental atomic bomb (Fat Boy) was set off in the New Mexico desert and gave off heat three times that of the sun’s center.||The bombing of Hiroshima took place 3 weeks later and Nagasaki 3 days after that.|
|July 29, 1969||Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.||I was a senior at Auburn at the time, and classes were canceled the next day so we could stay up late and watch the landing.|
|July 31, 1776||During the American Revolution, Francis Salvador, a South Carolinian, became the first Jew to die in the conflict.||Salvador was the first Jewish citizen elected to office in Colonial America. He was voted a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress in 1775 from Charleston.|
When we celebrate patriotism openly and often during this remarkable month, I think it would do us all good regardless of our leanings to reflect on the following quote.
The essence of America, that which really unites us, is not ethnicity or nationality, or religion. It is an idea, and what an idea it is — that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.
-Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State