Independence Day is an important day in the United States.

In 1776, the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire and would be recognized as a new nation — thus asserting independence from British rule. This action led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution over a decade later.

But for years, the rights our independent nation promised only applied to certain people.

Black Americans, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and many other communities didn't get to experience the same freedoms. Instead, to varying degrees, they experienced persecution.

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Mexico is celebrating right now. And it's all thanks to South Korea's latest World Cup win.

If you haven't heard, South Korea beat Germany, pushing Mexico into the next round. Are you screaming "GOOOOAL"?

It got wild in Mexico City, where fans rushed the South Korean embassy to show their support and chanted "Korean brother, you are now Mexican," as they danced and shouted outside. Fans even got South Korean Consul General Byoung-Jin Han to join the fun. He came outside to celebrate and was immediately hoisted aloft by fans.

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James Madison is known as the "father of the Constitution." But while he and the convention delegates built the country on paper, slaves were building it everywhere else.

Today, Madison's historic home Montpelier is open to the public. Visitors can explore the mansion, the Madison family cemetery, acres of picturesque hills, and learn more about Montpelier's enslaved community by touring slaves' quarters.

The mansion at Montpelier. All images via James Madison's Montpelier, used with permission. Photo by Pam Soorenko.

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Leah Ableson is a 24-year-old wedding planner living in New York City, and she’s made it her mission to create traditions that bring others joy.

On paper, Leah could be quintessential material for the opening of a Christmas movie: a millennial who’s overtaxed by work and too busy to think of anyone other than herself before having an unexpected run-in with Santa that reminds her of the true meaning of Christmas. But Leah’s already begun a tradition of helping others around the holidays with no Santa run-in required.

Busy as she is, Leah sets aside her birthday every year — just a few weeks before the holidays — to go shopping for as many toys as she can afford, and then she drops them off at Toys for Tots. She’s also part of a bigger annual tradition: She’s a member of a specially trained team that helps Macy's host Santa and his elves during their month-long residency at SantaLand on 34th Street.

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