Global Travel Alliance Trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Gettysburg
This Week in History
Global Travel Alliance trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and more are great opportunities for student groups to get outside and explore an outdoor classroom. This week is an important week in our American history, so keep reading to learn more about our educational American Heritage programs!
On this day, 1776 – meeting in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, delegates to the Continental Congress begin discussion on a draft of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. It was a committee of five delegates responsible for the draft – John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston, but Jefferson was responsible for the writing.
On this day, 1863 – Union forces collide with Confederate forces in search of shoes and supplies west of the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg had begun.
On this day, 1776 – following two days of discussion, the Continental Congress approved the resolution to declare independence from Great Britain. Instrumental in the decision was John Adams, who wrote to his wife, Abigail: “Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony; ‘that these United Colonies are, and of Right out to be, Free and Independent States.’ You will see in a few days a declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution…The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God almighty. It ought to be solemized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
On this day, 1863 – After two days of battle with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the leading Generals of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg are called to an evening war council by commanding General George Gordon Meade. Having been in command for only four days, Meade requested the opinions of his subordinates regarding their Army’s next move, whether they would remain in position at Gettysburg or retreat. With the opportunity to vote on the matter, the council unanimously determined to stay and fight, to which Meade responded “Such then is the decision.”
On this day, 1776 – The Continental Congress debates the specific language of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson remains silent throughout the debate over the language in his first draft. He would later acknowledge the agony he felt over revisions made by the Congress, declaring that his draft was “mangled.”
On this day, 1863 – The decisive day in the Battle of Gettysburg. After a fierce three days of battle, Union forces withstand Confederate attacks under Robert E. Lee, forcing Confederate forces to retreat from Gettysburg and back into Confederate territory. This historic day gives us the memorable Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top, Pickett’s Charge and the valiant actions of the 20th Maine regiment and the 1st Minnesota, among many others. This was the last battle on Union ground and proved to be a turning point in the American Civil War.
On this day, 1776 – Following two days of debate over specific language, Congress officially adopts the revised version of the Declaration of Independence. This version was signed and authenticated by only the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, and secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, then given to the printer so that copies could be made into broadsides (a large single-page printed document) and distributed to the Colonial Legislatures and the Continental Army. These printings were read publicly for the first time the following Monday, July 8th, 1776.
This was not, however, the document that we know, the one residing in the National Archives. The official “engrossed” copy (the one stylistically written and signed by the delegates) that we know as the Declaration of Independence was made and signed by the delegates some time between July 4th and August 2nd. Some delegates at the Congress signed weeks and months after July 4th, some never signed at all.
Take your students on a Global Travel Alliance educational tour to Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, and Philadelphia!
Contact us to learn more.