Remembering that first Fourth of July 241 years ago

Today, July 4, 2017, is the 241st anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence.

As the light of freedom dims in America, we should recall that first Fourth of July in 1776, when 56 men convened in a hot stuffy room in Philadelphia to deliberate on and sign the Declaration of Independence.

There are 3 parts to this post:

  1. An evocative narrative of that day in 1776.
  2. What happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration.
  3. The Declaration of Independence.

The Americans Who Risked Everything,” by Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr. (father of talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh, III):

It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren’t nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.

The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that “the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stockings was nothing to them.” All discussing was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

On the wall at the back, facing the president’s desk, was a panoply — consisting of a drum, swords, and banners seized from Fort Ticonderoga the previous year. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the place, shouting that they were taking it “in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”

Now Congress got to work, promptly taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissension. “Resolved: That an application be made to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at New York.”

Then Congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. They cut the phrase “by a self-assumed power.” “Climb” was replaced by “must read,” then “must” was eliminated, then the whole sentence, and soon the whole paragraph was cut. Jefferson groaned as they continued what he later called “their depredations.” “Inherent and inalienable rights” came out “certain unalienable rights,” and to this day no one knows who suggested the elegant change.

A total of 86 alterations were made. Almost 500 words were eliminated, leaving 1,337. At last, after three days of wrangling, the document was put to a vote.

Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: “I am no longer a Virginian, sir, but an American.” But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

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The Fate of the Signers

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact. [from “The Americans Who Risked Everything“]

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The Declaration of Independence

The Want, Will and Hopes of the People

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

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 to 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 of 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 Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

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 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 Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

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“I am no longer a Virginian, sir, but an American.”

How many Americans today — like this Vietnamese immigrant — identify first and foremost as American instead of by a perpetually-aggrieved race or ethnicity or country-of-origin or class or gender or political party?

Today, the Left and RINOs deify globalism, and portray American nationalism as a dirty word and American nationalists as racists. How low we have sunken . . . .

Friends and patriots, on this Independence Day, never forget the sacrifices so willingly undertaken by this nation’s founding fathers. Let us take up the challenge and make sure that the dream they began 241 years ago be never extinguished.

May God have mercy on America.

~Éowyn

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14 responses to “Remembering that first Fourth of July 241 years ago

  1. Wish I had been here that long ago and lived to tell the greatest story ever told. GOD BLESS AMERICA, GOD KEEP YOU FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful tribute and reminder, which I have tried to reblog. Will keep trying. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Kate Smith singing God Bless America. This is a beautiful video which shows Ronald Reagan and his parents and some other notables.

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  4. Here’s another video where John Wayne represents fellow actors, most from Western movies and shows singing, God Bless America.

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  5. Despite all of our flaws, America remains the best and most humane society that has ever graced the Earth. This is to say that our society has been the best, overall, despite those who hold the reigns of political power—another accounting altogether. It is precisely this distinction that the Left categorically refuses to recognize, unless it serves their purposes.

    A few words about the Declaration. It would seem to me that the Declaration is, essentially, a political and not a metaphysical document. Yet metaphysical (or ontological) implications remain. N.B. that the Christian God is not specifically identified: It refers to “Nature’s God.” Almost all Christians would agree that this refers to the Christian God, for “Nature’s God” seems to Christians to be the God of the Bible. Yet this is not necessarily so: In addition to being predominantly founded by Freemasons and others of a Deistic concept of the Supreme Being, I take “Nature’s God” to refer to THEIR understanding of God—for it was they who wrote and signed the document. The fact that they left the door of society open to Christians does not erase this fact. Furthermore, the Declaration states that “Nature” and “Nature’s God” are “two separate but equal” powers. Yes, Nature and God are two separate things: One is the creation and the other is the Creator. And as a Christian, I would insist that, although they are metaphysically separate entities, that, as a Christian, the God of the Bible MUST take the primacy that God Deserves. Given that the philosophy of John Locke—good insofar as it goes—permeates at least the Constitution, and given the fact that most of the Founders were Freemasons and Deists, the Declaration CANNOT be said, so construed, to take this Christian Imperative on the matter.
    In plain English, many if not most of the Founders were members of a secret society called Freemasonry and, corporately, cannot be identified as Christians: The purposes, aims and goals of each camp are diametrically opposed to each other, despite the invincible ignorance of any of the Founders. (I have read that Jefferson and Franklin were Satanists).

    Be that as it may, there is another distinction that almost everyone fails to grasp, and that is the clause or phrase that “all men are created equal.” Many people today—both left and right—take that to mean that equality is a goal to be pursued in the egalitarian manner. I would disagree on these grounds: First, as moral agents, we are equal in the sense that each man will give an accounting to God at his Particular Judgment. I take the phrase “all men are created equal” to mean precisely this, that that “creation” of men necessarily includes and points to a man’s Final End—and that any talk of egalitarianism, however desirable, must take a back seat to this Imperative. Almost NO ONE today understands this, or even understands that this is the case.
    Secondly, the equality of men before God refers, in the Declaration, to the idea of “equal Justice for all persons under Law.” This would come later, with the Constitution, but I believe that this is the practical matter that the Founders meant to convey. Certainly, they are NOT referring to equalities of outcome, something inevitable that many socialists and college students refuse to admit! Furthermore, this equality of men does not refer to the social engineering that government would enforce that would come later on, nor does it preclude, necessarily, to the principle of free association. Hence the segregation that naturally occurs in society is NOT prohibited by the phrase—another truth, practical and moral, that many so-called intellectuals today simply refuse to see.

    Nor has the Declaration precluded the idea of Secession: To the contrary, the Declaration is a secessionistic document. Hence, the War of Secession, which the Confederacy called the Civil War, was fought, intellectually, according to the same principle. (And contrary to popular belief, the Question HAS NOT been settled by Lincoln’s victory: The matter is still possible to happen again).

    So I would say that we have to start with what the Founders themselves tried to intend. This can be identified by pinning down what it was they attempted to convey, intellectually (and even religiously, to some extent), and not by the results that came later on, by different men, in different circumstances. It is precisely THIS that neither the Sarah Palin’s on the right or the Bill Ayers’s on the left simply do not understand: They do not identify precisely what, metaphysically or ontologically, according to Christian principles, what the Founders intended to construe. People today construe what they, and not the Founders, intended to construe. Hence they fall into the error of thinking either that the Founders, in their age and in their Times, were either superior to us morally (the Palin camp) or that they were inferior to us morally (the Ayers camp). This is of the utmost importance: Without this understanding, a real understanding of History and its events simply are impossible. (And I would add that this same principle has obtained and maintains with a proper understanding of what has happened to the Catholic Church: Neither the V-2 adherents, the ecumenicals, nor the false Traditionalists understand this, and, Hence, the Church remains in a political and theological state of deadlock).

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  6. Reblogged this on Cinderella's Broom.

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  7. traildustfotm

    “The Fate of the Signers”
    That is where you see what these people were made of. I am grateful for their courage and honor. There’s no way to tell what the world would have been like if we were just another British Protectorate.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent, thank you for posting this. Happy 4th of July!!

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  9. ManCavePatriot

    I would advise folks to research and read The Treaty Of Paris, which stipulated and codified the cessation of military action between Great Britain and the Colonies. Most, if not all, of the royal charters and land grants were never abrogated.

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  10. I Pledge My Allegiance

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