A little over 20 years ago in our community theater production of “1776” I was fortunate to be cast in the role of Thomas Jefferson. At only 5′ 9″ I believe that portraying the 6’+ Jefferson was one of my greatest acting feats.
During the act where Jefferson stands in the footlights before closed stage curtains and hears his words – the Declaration of Independence – dramatically read by John Adams my stage direction was to simply stand there and look to the heavens.
The fact that I stood there, looking to the heavens unable to stop the tears streaming down my face won me the wrath of the director, accolades from the critics and a greater understanding of who Jefferson was and what a great document it was that he wrote.
I just finished re-reading the Declaration in the KC Star this morning and once again I wept.
Happy July 4th to one & all here at SST.
This clip of Jefferson, Franklin, & Adams working out the kinks in the Declaration of Independence from the wonderful HBO series “John Adams” always bears a repeat posting today:
JOHN ADAMS-Declaration of Independence-Drafting in 1776
Thank you for calling it what it truly is, “Independence Day” and not the “4th of July” which is merely a date. Even calendars these days call it the “4th of July” as if we didn’t know what day it was. This is a big pet peeve of mine.
Did you find that picture somewhere or take it yourself Col? Beautiful shot of the monument, I might have to cut/paste a copy for my records.
One of world history’s greaatest document is indeed reason for celebrations.
In these economically and politically trying times, It would be most welcome by the citizens of USA if the several members of the present Administration and Congress would compose a similar document ascertaing their individual independence form the various K-Street entities and the Military Industrial complex [well called by Mr. Eisenhower the bane of democracy] to better serve the people of the USA, and the World.
Good luck USA, and her citizens
On this Independence Day, my prayer is that all my fellow citizens will spend a few moments reading the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. And then reflect on them.
I received the following in an email yesterday:
“Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his
family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.”
Happy Independence Day, America, and Americans. May God and Al Franken shine their lights your way this year.
Wishing everyone a happy Independence Day. In these tough times its always worth remembering that the power of an idea have helped people surmount even tougher times.
Another signer of the Declaration of Independence was Josiah Bartlett, a physician known for his Peruvian bark and apple cider vineger cures. Hope the latter wasn’t administered in enemas–ouch. Later he became the Gov. of N.H. and, though he claimed to be of a certain denomination (can’t remember which), was known to never go to church. Also had his house burned.
What country has as much reason to revere its founding fathers? Here’s to the declaration of independence, and to the United States of America!
Of course, July 4th is also a good day to remember those members of the Second Continental Congress who voted against independence, abstained, and/or refused to sign the Declaration: John Alsop, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, George Reed, and Thomas Willing. Quaker pacifism was a motive for a couple of them, since everyone knew that declaring independence would lead to war. Others saw themselves as being opposed to specific bad British policies, not British rule in general.
When war came, some of these men fought as officers in the Continental Army, and some financially supported the revolution. None fought on the British side. Once it was clear that war was inevitable, they sided with their neighbors.
It is worth noting that George Reed signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4 despite having voted against its adoption, acceding to the will of the majority. You Americans have good reason to be proud to have him among founding fathers.
This is a day to think about.
Long and hard!
We can thank Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, for his resolution of 7 June 1776 (pursuant to the Virginia resolves of 15 May 1776) which prepared the way for the official Declaration.
Said he to Landon Carter: “It is not choice then, but necessity that calls for Independence, as the only means by which foreign alliance can be obtained and a proper confederation by which internal peace and union may be secured.”
Foreign alliance was necessary from the standpoint of power politics. But it took the victory at the Battle of Saratoga to bring some allies firmly on board.
One might point to a possible influence of the precedent of the Dutch in the “Act of Abjuration” per the evil tyrant Phillip II.
Richard Henry Lee was the great uncle of General Robert E. Lee.
Happy Independence Day SST and all who frequent. It is a great place to stop and enjoy the hearty debates and well reasoned questions.
From Washington’s Blog:
“In 1764, the Bank of England used its influence on Parliament to get a Currency Act passed that made it illegal for any of the colonies to print their own money. The colonists were forced to pay all future taxes to Britain in silver or gold. Anyone lacking in those precious metals had to borrow them at interest from the banks.”
As an aside, the more I learn about the founding fathers the more impressed I am with them. That Lincoln guy, not so much.
Dear Col. Lang,
Please pardon my belated good wishes to all. I have been rather busy working on my business and while I haven’t posted in quite some time, I never stopped reading your blog – it is and has always been my favorite. You and your wonderful readers continue to inspire.
Bobby (formerly known as taters)
Prediciting the words of teh Declaration of Independence will ring down through history as the key document in evolution of “Rights of Man and Woman”!
Should have been on the Voyager Disk!
Happy Independence Day to everyone – I raise a drink to the brilliant articulation of the language and concepts of Liberalism and Democracy by the Founders – documents that continue to inspire worldwide.
Happy Independence day to all Americans.
This post is unique and informative.
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