Talks and Events Around July 4th and American History

By Alison Durkee

July 4 is coming up, and it’s nearly time to celebrate America’s birth. Beyond the fireworks and barbecues, those hoping to mark the holiday with some insight into our nation’s founding—and present-day politics—can check out these upcoming talks and events.

New York City’s signature July 4 events include its annual fireworks display, which will take place this year over the Brooklyn Bridge, and Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Coney Island. Those looking for a different way to spend their holiday, though, can head to the Fraunces Tavern Museum, which will be offering a special walking tour in the early hours of the morning of lower Manhattan’s Revolutionary spots, along with a day-long open house featuring $1 admission. The New-York Historical Society will also be marking the holiday with a special day of activities and more.

For those who can’t make it to these museums on Independence Day itself, both Fraunces Tavern and the NYHS will have offerings throughout the summer to give a better perspective on the Revolutionary era. On June 28, Fraunces Tavern will offer a special Independence Eve walking tour of NYC’s Revolutionary sights, while visitors to the museum as part of Night at the Museums June 25 will be able to enjoy live music, colonial dance lessons, and more. The NYHS will be offering a special “Revolutionary Summer” all season long through September 15, which includes a replica of George Washington’s Headquarters Tent and other special artifacts and documents, along with a full slate of special events and living historians. Upcoming events to keep on your radar include a Revolutionary trivia night on July 12 and a July 24 spotlight on the little-known Revolutionary War hero Deborah Sampson (above).

Other events this summer will offer a special focus on George Washington, who successfully fought for America’s freedom before becoming its first president. A June 27 event will focus on the life and myth of Washington, while a July 31 talk will center specifically on Washington’s youth. Those hoping to get a look at a different era of American politics, meanwhile, can learn about former President Teddy Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders” at an event July 24.

New Yorkers can also attend upcoming events that shed light on what’s currently happening in American politics. As the current Supreme Court term comes to an end after an eventful term, go in-depth at a June 26 event at the Y with Maureen Dowd and Carl HulseNew York Times Chief Washington Correspondent and author of Confirmation Bias: Inside Washington’s War Over the Supreme Court. A separate July 2 event will feature a panel discussion on the high court’s year in review. On July 25, retired Gen. David Petraeus will appear in conversation with Bret Stephens, as Petraeus discusses the ongoing threats that America has faced since the end of the Cold War.

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