The month of July has historically hearkened change. The month began with Canada Day; marking the anniversary of the Constitutional Act, Canada was created as a dominion and began its evolution to independence.

Three days later the US celebrates its declaration of independence from the British. Even though the war began previously on Lexington Green, it was on July 4th that the Continental Congress voted to declare itself independent.

After the United States was successful in its bid to end colonial domination other colonies in the Americas followed suit. Each had its own characteristics but all share common themes.

If you are covering independence movements in the Americas, it is critically important for students to be able to compare and contrast the causes and course of these movements. This means going beyond George Washington and Simon Bolivar and looking into the types of people who led and advocated movements. It also means examining the social and economic structures in addition to the political structures in place in the colonies. Lastly, it means understanding the differences among the imperial powers.

Of course there is still one more revolutionary movement brewing out there that will have far-reaching consequences as well. But, as Zhou Enlai once said, it is too soon to tell what the effects of that one were …