John Adams and Thomas
Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, on the 50th
anniversary of the country they helped found.
Are you off work today?
But if you have to work today and aren’t
happy about it, I want to share the story of some other folks
who had to work on the 4th.
It was 243 years ago that the
thirteen original colonies were getting really fed up with being
treated like second class citizens. They were being taxed to
death, but weren’t given a voice in Parliament (England’s
version of Congress).
In 1774 they decided they weren’t
going to take it anymore and would no longer import anything
from England, but few ever dreamed of actually becoming a new
By the next year, the situation had gone from
bad to worse.
The second Continental Congress met in
Philadelphia and slowly warmed up to the idea of leaving England
in their rear view mirror, but these guys were young and still
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of
Virginia called for everyone to go for it.
later, a committee was formed to create the document that would
tell the King of England to take a hike. That committee incuded
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman
and Robert Livingston.
The document was 1350 words,
which included 27 bullet points of how England had wronged the
colonists. They were so angry with the King that 17 of the
bullet points began with “He has…” (Talk about being burned on a
Keep in mind that they didn’t
have much time to get this done, and were doing it without
Even though Jefferson was an eloquent
writer, 86 changes were made to his draft. The final version
that we know as the Declaration of Independence was officially
adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4.
importance of this historical document was illustrated in my
favorite movie, “National Treasure”. In the most poignant scene,
Nicholas Cage stands in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol where
the Declaration is on display, reading part of it to his
colleague. His colleague didn’t understand it, so Cage
paraphrased it like this:
“It means if there’s something
wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the
responsibility to take action."
Fortunately for all
Americans today, a small group of very courageous men with
incredible vision did exactly that, 234 years ago today.
Happy 4th of July,
For those too young to know, the
title of this article was the name of a song by Twisted Sister.
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