Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
If I could have personally witnessed one event from history, I know exactly what it would be, for I have often thought about this very thing. You see, I am a history buff. I adore history, and my favorite era to study is the American Revolutionary War from 1775-1783. Just the fact that the thirteen American colonies, struggling for their independence from Great Britain, were able to hold their own and eventually triumph over the greatest army in the world (that being the King’s British Army) has always amazed me and filled me with a sense of American pride. I have always felt that the Americans were fighting for the right ideals— that are all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They felt the need for independence, with the right to be free from the tyranny of King George II and and in turn govern themselves.
Therefore, the event from the American Revolutionary War that I wish I could have personally witnessed would be the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. I wish I could have been at Independence Hall as each one of fifty-six delegates strode up to the table, was presented with a quill pen, and affixed their signature to the document. I can just imagine John Hancock signing his name with a flourish, his signature the most prominent of all. How exciting and memorable it would have been to hear the comments being made as the document was signed:
“There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!” John Hancock
“We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must hang together.” John Hancock
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Benjamin Franklin
“My hand trembles, but my heart does not.” Stephen Hopkins
One of the best-known sentences in the English language comes from the Declaration of Independence, written by one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson:
“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.”
Thomas Jefferson summed up the Declaration of Independence in a letter to Samuel Adams Wells on May 12, 1821, by stating: “The Declaration of Independence . . . [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.”
Truly an exciting time in the history of the United States of America, the American Revolutionary War marked the birth of our nation, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence was akin to its birth announcement. How courageous all of our founding fathers were. And I think that all of their wives and children were just as courageous to have supported them during this perilous time.
To have been present during the signing of the Declaration of the Independence would have truly been an honor for me.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The Declaration of Independence is a sacred part of American history.” ~ Paul Gillmor