Harvard, 4th of July & American Patriotism

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Harvard, 4th of July & American Patriotism

Andreas Madestam and David Yanagizawa-Drott recently released a report (Harvard University 4th of July American Patriotism Report), stating that “Evidence suggests that important childhood events can have persistent effects on political beliefs and participation and that Fourth of July celebrations in the US affect the nation’s political landscape.”

Andreas Madestam is an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at Bocconi University (School of Business and Economics in Milan, Italy). David Yanagizawa-Drott is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What is the purpose of disciplining a child? What is the purpose of sending a child to school to get an education? What is the purpose of going to church as a family? The answer is simple. It is to train our youth to become quality productive members of our society. The primary purpose of the Fourth of July celebration is to remember the birth and proud heritage of the United States of America.

The picture at the top right is that of the North Korea celebration marking the 65th anniversary of the communist nation’s ruling party. As part of the celebration, there were waving flags, shows of military might, parades and fireworks. Almost every country around the world has a celebration of its foundation. The United States of America is no different.

Historical Events on July 4th

1776 – Declaration of Independence signed
1803 – Louisiana Purchase is announced to the public
1817 – Construction of the Erie Canal begins
1827 – Slavery abolished in New York
1828 – Construction begins on B & O (Baltimore-Ohio): 1st US passenger railroad
1829 – Cornerstone laid for 1st US mint (Chestnut & Juniper St, Philadelphia)
1831 -”America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” is 1st sung in Boston, Massachusetts
1836 – Wisconsin Territory forms
1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond; Texas Congress votes for annexation to US
1855 – Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” is published
1861 – President Abraham Lincoln requests 400,000 troops; Skirmish at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
1862 – Lewis Carroll creates Alice in Wonderland for Alice P Liddell
1863 – Boise, Idaho founded (now capital of Idaho); General Robert E. Lee’s army withdraws from Gettysburg
1876 – 1st public exhibition of electric light in San Francisco, California; Batholdi visits Bedloe Island, future home of his Statue of Liberty
1881 – Booker T Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama)
1883 – Buffalo Bill Cody presents 1st wild west show in North Platte, Nebraska
1889 – Washington state constitutional convention holds 1st meeting
1894 – Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of 1st US autos at 6 MPH
1895 – Katherine Lee Bates publishes “America the Beautiful”
1898 – US flag hoisted over Wake Island
1905 – Philadelphia A’s beat Boston Red Sox 4-2 in 20 inning game
1939 – NY Yankees retire 1st uniform (Lou Gehrig #4), 1st Old Timers Day
1941 – Howard Florey & Norman Heatley meet for 1st time, 11 days later they successfully recreate penicillin
1942 – US air offensive against nazi-Germany begins
1946 – Philippines gains independence from US
1950 – President Harry S Truman signs public law 600 (Puerto Ricans write own constitution)
1956 – Independence National Historical Park forms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1959 – America’s new 49-star flag honoring Alaska statehood unfurled
1960 – America’s new 50-star flag honoring Hawaiian statehood unfurled
1966 – President Lyndon B Johnson signs Freedom of Information Act
1968 – Radio astronomy satellite Explorer 38 launched
1970 – Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40″ debuts on LA radio
1982 – 4th Space Shuttle Mission lands at Edwards Air Force Base
1985 – Tinker Bell’s nightly flight begins
1997 – US space probe Pathfinder lands on Ares Vallis Mars
2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City
2005 – The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1

Andreas Madestam and David Yanagizawa-Drott make the argument that waving flags on 4th of July encourages a child to become a Republican voter later in life. I would like to argue a different point. Are Democrats not proud of our American heritage? Are Democrats not patriotic Americans? There are many psychological and emotional differences between conservatives and liberals as to how they think, feel, believe and act. And these thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions do significantly impact how a person votes for a political candidate or political party.

I believe that American Patriotism is not a Democratic, Republican, conservative or liberal idea. I believe that most Americans, although not necessarily proud or happy about our current political situation or specific historical events in the past, are proud to be Americans. The United States of America has one of the largest influx of immigrants from around the world. People would rather risk their lives to live in the US than to stay in the country they were born in. And the answer is again simple. People move here and stay here because of the many things that make America great: freedom and economic opportunity.

In order to truly achieve success and freedom in America, you have to embrace and integrate into the American culture. Some might think that this means that you are forced to become something that you are not. It is more that you recognize and appreciate the freedoms and opportunities that you have in the United States of America that you are so overwhelmed with positive feelings that you voluntarily become an American Patriot.

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