July 4, 1776 - July 4, 2006 - 230 Years Of Change

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, July 03, 2006

June 11, 1776, five men meet in secret...their goal, to draft a resolution by which the 13 colonies would break from rule by the British. These five men (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston & Roger Sherman), decided that Mr. Jefferson would write the original draft. When he was done, Franklin and Adams made some minor changes and these changes were incorporated prior to presenting the document to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776.
John Trumbull's famous painting is usually incorrectly identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration. What the painting actually depicts is the five-man drafting committee presenting their work to the Congress. Trumbull's painting can also be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill.


On July 2, 1776, independence was declared as outlined in the "Lee Resolution" presented to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, which read (in part): "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
The full declaration (after some additional rewriting) was adopted at the Pennsylvania State House on July 4, 1776.
The original was signed by John Hancock and Charles Thompson. Then a local printer, John Dunlop spent the evening printing 150-200 copies of the document. The original document never survived but there are about 25 original "Dunlap broadsides" in existence.
On July 19, 1776, Congress ordered a new handwritten copy be produced and signed by all of the original delegates to sign. On August 2, 1776, most of the delegates signed this document, in geographic order of their colonies from north to south, though some delegates were not present and had to sign later. Two delegates never signed at all. As new delegates joined the congress, they were also allowed to sign. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed. This is the copy on display at the National Archives.
The youngest to sign was Edward Rutledge (26). The oldest, Benjamin Franklin (70).

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Today- do not skip over it - read it...this is our freedom
When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance so these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the Present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to a candid World. NOTE: * The signers then list 27 grievances against the British Crown. The grievances are directed personally at the King
In every stage of these Oppressions
we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People. Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends. We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
THE SIGNERS
In order - North to South
Were these men perfect? Absolutely not! We all know that many were slave owners and that their words did not represent slaves. Women were also not represented in this document or it's meaning. But right in the beginning, they also gave those that follow the ability to change as the times changed:
"that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Over the centuries, our ancestors have righted these wrongs and given those who were once slaves their freedom and women the right to vote.
Did these changes come easily? Of course not, change is never easy. The change that these men saw fit in the 1700's was certainly not easy. The civil war pitted brother against brother in some cases. The fight for a woman's right to vote was long and hard.
For the most part the changes that have needed to be made have been made.
Are we perfect today? Like our ancestors, we are not. We have many things that we still need to change and slowly over time we can only hope they will.
Will they change without struggle? Again...no.
But the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is built on the words that change can be made...and without those words who knows what our lives would be today.
Tomorrow we celebrate the day these patriots stood up to a government that was intolerable.
We get together with friends and loved ones and enjoy the company of all.
We barbeque and eat and drink and laugh and smile.
Many will watch the fireworks - which represent the battles that took place during the original fight for freedom.
What we no longer do, it seems, is stopping to reflect on the lives that were lost during this struggle and the lives that have been lost in the many struggles that followed. Not only the wars we fought with our military (we have days to honor those brave men and women)...but the lives that were lost fighting for freedom within the USA.
The lives lost by those who fought for racial freedom.
The lives lost by women during their struggle for equality.
The lives lost over the right to choose.
The lives lost by those who have protested what they have felt are unfair policies of our govenment.
All these lives have been lost in the continuing struggle to get it right.
Will we ever get it right?
I certainly can not answer that question, but I can certainly hope and pray we do our best to get as close as possible.
So, tomorrow, JULY 4, 2006, as you sit with friends and family and throw another burger on the grill or pop open another beer, take one moment and silently thank those people who began the fight in 1776 and all of those who have continued the fight over the last 230 years...
We are not perfect...but we could be so much less perfect without them.

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Keep that spark of insanity kids...It helps keep you an individual.

4 Of Your Sparks

  1. Turnberry Says:
  2. Thanks for reminding me to read it all again.

     
  3. sueann Says:
  4. Just a something extra to add:

    Though friends in their youth, disagreements separated Thomas Jefferson and our second President John Adams in later years. They were eventually reconciled toward their twilight years and though they never saw each other again after Adams left the White House to be replaced by Jefferson. In the last 14 years of their lives they exchanged 156 letters, some of them quite warm. This correspondence is generally
    regarded as the intellectual capstone to the achievements of the
    revolutionary generation and the most impressive correspondence between prominent statesmen.

    They both died on the same day, July 4th, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, two of the last three signers.

     
  5. robsg1rl Says:
  6. Wow. Didn't know that much about the Declaration of Independence or its origins. This is one of your best blogs, IMO. Note: I said "one of" :)

     
  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. I know I'm a couple of days late with this, but I rarely get online when I'm not at work, so I am just getting around to catching up with your blog today.

    Yesterday, July 4, 2006, my hubby and I started to watch the movie The Patriot. Family showed up before the movie ended, but the meaning of the day was still in my thoughts as I stood on my deck watching the thousands of fireworks light up the evening sky. At first I thought, WOW, the people in this town are really into their fireworks! That was followed by thinking that House A was competing with Houses B, C, D, etc. to see who could launch the most at once. And as I stood there watching the amazing displays going on all around me, I closed my eyes and wondered if all of the pop, pop, boom, boom I was hearing was maybe a tad bit similar to the sounds of gunfire and canon balls being fired during the Revolutionary War, which brought a tear to my eye and being so thankful that I live in the greatest country in the World, the United States of America!

    Now that I've read your blog, for the first time in a long time, I actually got my butt out of my chair and took a good look at the copy of The Declaration of Independence hanging on my wall. Wow!

    Peace,
    CAT

     

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