July 4, 1845: The Birth of the American Environmental Movement
Text by Andrew Burmon
Photograph by wereldmuis, via Flickr
The Declaration of Independence endowed us with the right to pursue our own happiness. And on July 4th most Americans do exactly that. Barbeques, fireworks, “Stars and Stripes Forever."
July 4th, 1845 was no exception to this rule. In Concord, Massachusetts, men and women were enjoying what Governor Charles Sumner had declared a “national sabbath.” Stores were closed and plows leaned up against white barns. But one citizen was not enjoying the arcadian siesta. Henry David Thoreau, who lived just off Concord’s flag-wrapped main street, had just finished packing.
It was certainly no coincidence that Thoreau chose Independence Day to move to the cabin he had built for himself on the shore of Walden Pond.
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