Saturday, 29 August 2015
Philadelphia: Independence House
The free tickets we got from the Visitor Center allowed us to go on a tour of Independence House at 3.45pm. We had to be there at 3.30pm. A well briefed and informative tour guide explained the history of the building and the convention that met there.
There were about 100 people on the tour. At the end, alas, I was the only one to ask any questions. I was interested to know when Americans think their nation came into existence. I said that most people think of it as 1776 with the declaration of independence. Yet that was a declaration of the independence of 13 colonies, leading to the creation of 13 independent countries, admittedly working together as a loose confederation. Or was it when the US constitution came into force in 1789.
The tour guide added another year - 1783, when Britain formally recognised the colonies as independent. I think what he was telling me was that all three dates are important and the actual birth of the US was a transitional period from 1776 to 1789.