Happy Fourth!

Editor’s pick: You may have studied the names of the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, but how much do you know about the political forces that shaped that document? Woody Holton, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, lays out six facts most Americans get wrong about the messy political context of 1776 and how women, Indigenous and enslaved people helped pull America toward a war of independence with Britain.

The top five stories on our site this week are displayed below.

Emily Costello

Managing Editor

The way Danes speak makes it much harder for Danish children to learn the language. Fabio Trecca

Danish children struggle to learn their vowel-filled language – and this changes how adult Danes interact

Morten H. Christiansen, Cornell University; Fabio Trecca, Aarhus University

Recent research on Danish shows that not only is it hard for Danish children to learn their mother tongue, but adult Danes use their native language differently than speakers of other languages.

President Lyndon Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which aimed to do away with racial discrimination in the law. But discrimination persisted. AP file photo

Critical race theory: What it is and what it isn’t

David Miguel Gray, University of Memphis

A scholar of race and racism explains what critical race theory is – and how many people get it wrong.