The Real Cost of July 4, from NYC to Nashville

By Lewis Braham - 2012-06-26T20:34:29Z

Photograph by Ron Chapple/Getty Images

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Freedom's Price

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." The Fourth of July commemorates those words. We now spend more every year on fireworks and beer than our fledgling government's entire $101 million war chest during the American Revolution. But in 1776 the cost was measured more in lives than money. Some 25,000 revolutionaries and 27,000 British and German soldiers died. And that was just the start. Our Declaration of Independence soon inspired the French Revolution as well as abolitionists and suffragists to sacrifice themselves for equality. Spending billions celebrating today seems a bargain in comparison.