Lesson 17a: Independence Day

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INDEPENDENCE DAY - English Vocabulary

July 4th is a major holiday in the United States. It’s considered the birthday of our nation. This is the day we celebrate our independence.  In honour of Independence Day, I’d like to meet the request of one of my viewers and share some American history with you. I’m not a history buff, but I know enough to share a little bit about the birth of my country.

Topic: The Fourth of July

Independence Day in the United States of America

Lesson Objectives

I’d like you to learn new vocabulary in the context of U.S. history
And if you don’t know already half one, then I’d like you to gain a basic understanding of the American Revolution and the formation of the United States of America.

Part 1
Listening Task #1
Listen and try to understand the vocabulary in context.
July 4, 1776 is the day the American colonies declared their independence from the British Empire.

There were thirteen colonies at the time: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Islands, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Vocabulary
Set 1

Colony (n)
The American colonies declared their independence from the British Empire.
A colony is a land that is under the rule (power) of another country.
Note:
A colony is a land that is under the rule (power) of another country.
A colonist is a person who lives in a colony

Declare (v)
The American colonies declared their independence from the British Empire.
To declare is to make something known to everyone, meaning publicly. It’s to state officially.

Independence (n)
The American colonies declared their independence from the British Empire.
Independence is freedom, especially political freedom

The colonists began questioning British rule even before the 1770s.
They felt that they had certain rights that King George III and his Government didn’t recognize.
British laws were used in the colonies, but the colonies had little or no voice in the British Parliament.
Unfair taxes created a lot of anger among the American colonists.

In fact, one act of protest became so famous it’s known as the Boston Tea Party.
It took place in 1773.
Basically, a group of colonists threw tea from the British East India Company into the water of Boston Harbor, destroying the tea before it could be sold.The act helped set the American Revolution in motion.

Vocabulary
Set 2

Recognize (v)
The colonists felt that they had certain rights that King George III and his Government didn’t recognize.
Recognize means to see as real. It’s hard to do with the exception.

Protest (n)
Unfair taxes created a lot of anger…In fact, one act of protest became famous…
Protest is the act of disagreeing or complaining, usually in public. A common phrase is “act of protest”.
Note that protest can be a noun or a verb, same word, same pronunciation.
So sometimes as a verb, you may hear protest- to disagree or complain publicly

Destroy (v)
Colonists threw tea from the British East India Company into the water of Boston Harbor, destroying the tea before it could be sold.
To destroy is to ruin, to make something unusable.

Set in motion (v)
The act helped set the American Revolution in motion.
Set in motion is to make an event begin. It’s about getting something to start.

By 1776 the American colonies had formed the Continental Congress and it was this body of Government that adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
Fighting with Great Britain had begun in 1775 and what became known as the American Revolutionary War lasted all the way till 1783.
Not all the colonies stood against the British Crown.
Those who support the king were known as Loyalists.
Those who wanted to separate from the king and his rule were called Patriots.
The Patriots were greater in number (compared to the Loyalists) but even those, the British had a stronger army.
Luckily for the Patriots, France supported the American Revolution and we won the war with help from the France.
The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, and then the world recognized the United States of America.

Vocabulary- Set 3

Adopt (v)
This body of government adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
Adopt means to accept, to decide to use.
A common phrase is “adopt a law”.

Stand against (v)
Not all colonists stood against the British Crown.
To stand against something is to disagree with it or to fight with it, not physical fighting but rather to fight about ideas or principles.

Support (v)
Those who supported the king were called Loyalists.
Support can mean to agree with, especially to agree politically.

Separate (v)
Those who wanted to separate from the king and his rule were called Patriots.
To separate is to pull away from; to be free from.
Note that the same word can be a verb or an adjective.
Separate (v): to be free from
Separate (adj): being free from something and not a part of it.

Gaining our independence was and is cause for celebration, but sometimes one person’s gain is another person’s loss.

I believe it’s important to remember what the birth of the United States meant to the people who were here before the European colonists.

Native Americans, sometimes called American Indians, once lived from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and they had their own nations.

The American colonies were built on their lands.
The formation and growth of the United States meant the gradual end to their way of life.

For this reason, some Native Americans actually fought on the side of the British during the American Revolutionary War.
The British lost the war, and Native Americans continued to lose their land and their way of life.
For a long time, this was not recognized widely as a tragedy.

But today many Americans know the history and feel compassion for Native Americans.

We can’t change the history, but we can learn from it.
The Declaration of Independence mentions our right to pursue happiness.
But we shouldn’t pursue happiness at someone else’s expense.

Vocabulary- Set 4

Gain (v)
Gaining our independence was and is cause for celebration.
To gain means to get.
Note that “gain” can be a noun or a verb, same pronunciation.
Gain (v): to get
Gain (n): the act of getting

Gradual (adj)
The formation and growth of the United States meant the gradual end to their way of life.
Gradual means slow.
It means happening little by little.

Tragedy (n)
Native Americans continued to lose their land and their way of life. For a long time, this was not recognized widely as a tragedy.
A tragedy is a very sad event.

Pursue (v)
The Declaration of Independence mentions our right to pursue happiness.
To pursue is to try and find a way of getting something.

Compassion (n)
Today many Americans know the history and feel compassion for Native Americans.
Compassion is a shared feeling of sadness and an understanding of another person’s pain.
A common phrase is “feel compassion for someone”.

At someone else’s expense
We shouldn’t pursue happiness at someone else’s expense.
This means that something is done in a way that hurts another person.
It’s a matter of getting something, but in doing so, another person gets hurted.
Note that we don’t have to say “else”.
We can simply say “at someone’s expense”.

End of part 1
Please go on to the next part of this lesson.

 

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