The Declaration of Independence.
April 25, 2008 8:03pm CST
Have you read it? I think it's the most important document in the world. What do you think? It gives me chills and pride, every time I read it. http://tmra2.org/video/doi_3.wmv Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty-six 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 in the Revolutionary War, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. 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 his properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, 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. The owner 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 of New Jersey (my g'g'g'g'g'grandfather) was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and 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. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Lewis Morris and Philip Livingston suffered similar fates. Such are the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were softspoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with the firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." http://www.barefootsworld.net/doi1776.html
• United States
26 Apr 08
What a great history lesson. The Declaration is a great document. I tend to lean more toward the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they lay the framework. Interestingly the foundation of the Constitution is the Magna Carte.
26 Apr 08
Nope, never read it but that's probably due to being a dirty Brit, lol. I'd probably go with the Magna Carta as being one of the most important documents. It lies out certain rights for the nobility in the early 1200s (though people mistake it for being for everyone, which at the time it wasn't) and helped shaped England and Wales. Though my favourite historical document has to be the Doomsday Book, now there's bureaucracy in action! Nb Historian! Have a habit of looking what shaped our path rather than what is most important right this second.
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks for this very informative discussion about what I consider a very important document. I hadn't read it in years but I do value what it says. I have put your link into my file folder so I can bring it out and read it on a regular basis. I am proud to be a American and that document says it all.