Many of you are waking this morning with the ringing of freedom in your ears. Or, maybe your ears are ringing from all of those fireworks you saw last night. Either, would be appropriate because yesterday we, as a people, celebrated the 234th birthday of our United States!
One of my favorite authors, David McCullough, has stated, “Few nations in the world know when they were born. We know exactly when we began and why we began and who did it.”
“In the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington hangs John Trumbull’s great painting The Declaration of Independence. It’s our best-known scene from our past. And almost nothing about it is accurate. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4th…The chairs in the painting are wrong, the doors are in the wrong place. There were no heavy draperies at the windows…and the display of military flags and banners on the back wall is strictly a figment of Trumbull’s imagination.
What is accurate are the faces. Each and every one of the forty-seven men in that painting is an identifiable–and thus accountable–individual. We know what they look like. We know who they were. And that’s what Trumbull wanted. He wanted us to know them and not forget them. Because this momentous step wasn’t a proclamation being handed down by a potentate or a king or a czar. It was the decision of a Congress acting freely.” ~ David McCullough, The American Spirit.
How much do you know about our Declaration of Independence?
On ConstitutionFacts.com I found a quiz. I am presenting part of it here. Answers will be at the bottom of this post…no cheating!
- Who was King of Great Britain at the time the Colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence? A. George III B. Elizabeth II C. James I D. Queen Victoria
- How many people signed the Declaration of Independence? A. 13 B. 26 C. 34 D. 56
- Most of the Signers actually signed the Declaration of Independence on what date? A. July 2 B. July 4 C. August 2 D. August 6
- Why did Adams ask Jefferson, the youngest on the Committee, to draft the Declaration? A. Jefferson had a reputation as an eloquent writer. B. Adams himself was unpopular and had to keep a low profile. C. Jefferson was the smartest on the Committee. D. Both A and B.
- Which did Congress cut out of Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration? A. All references to slavery. B. Some references to women. C. A paragraph written in Latin. C. All references to religion.
- When did the Continental Congress actually pass a Resolution of Independence? A. July 1 B. July 2 C. July 3 D. July 4
- According to the Declaration of Independence, where does the Government get its power? A. From its Constitution B. From its military C. From the elected representatives D. From the consent of the governed.
- Which two key players in the history of the Declaration died on its 50th Anniversary? A. Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock B. George Washington and John Adams C. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams D. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
- Where is the Declaration of Independence displayed? A. The Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia B. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. C. National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. D. Liberty Hall in Philadelphia
- How many of the Signers of the Declaration died before the American Revolution ended? A. 4 B. 9 C. 23 D. 17
Any one of the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence, did so with the knowledge that if we lost our battle against the British, they could and would be hanged for treason?
Benjamin Franklin made the point more tellingly when, as he was about to sign the Declaration, he remarked, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.” ~ https://www.nps.gov/revwar/unfinished_revolution/treason.htm
And so, my friends, with grateful hearts, let us remember those men. As Winston Churchill once said, “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”
Our Independence…It is a very big deal.
The Signers of our Declaration of Independence ~
Answers to the Quiz ~ 1. A, 2. D, 3. C, 4. D, 5. A, 6. B, 7. D, 8. C, 9. C, 10. B