America: Declaration of Independence
Whereas the Spanish explorers first came to our Southwest and to places such as what became St. Augustine, Florida over 500 years ago in search of gold and also to extend the Roman Catholic Church into these regions; it was not until one hundred years later that the Pilgrims from England came to our eastern shores seeking to establish a new life for themselves, free from the repressive power and persecution of the spiritually dead State Church.
Jamestown Colony in 1607 and Plymouth Colony in 1620 were but two of many colonies that were founded by the English colonists up and down the Eastern seaboard of what is now the United States of America. It took about 150 years of oppressive regulation and taxation of England to bring these pioneers to the point of rebelling against this oppression and declaring their independence from England by writing and signing the all-important document, our Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.
The signers of this awesome document came from all thirteen of our original colonies, including John Hancock from Massachusetts, the only one who signed it on July 4th. He scrawled his name across the bottom of the document “largely and clearly so King George III could read it without his spectacles”. The other 56 delegates to that Continental Congress added their signatures on August 2nd.
The signers were all men of means and educated: including lawyers, jurists, merchants, farmers and large plantation owners. What a price those brave men paid for their signatures, knowing full well they would face death if captured! Their fate is well known and recorded by many.
Five were captured by the British as traitors and tortured to death. Many had their homes ransacked and burned.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships destroyed. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died a pauper.
Thomas McKean of Delaware 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 he died in poverty.
Vandals looted the properties of Ellery of Rhode Island, Clymer of Pennsylvania, Hall of Georgia, Walton of Georgia, Gwinnett of Georgia, Heyward of South Carolina, Ruttledge of South Carolina, and Middleton of South Carolina.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., of Virginia, knowing that the British General Cornwallis had taken over his home for his headquarters urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis of New York lost his home and properties. His wife was jailed and she died within a few months.
John Hart of New Jersey was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were destroyed. 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 of New York and Philip Livingston of New York suffered similar fates.
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were among prominent Americans well known in England. Yet both signed enthusiastically knowing they would be hanged if caught. Jefferson risked Monticello and Franklin his wealth and world prestige if independence was not secured.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more than security. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:
“For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Where are such men of honor and principle to be found today? No wonder America became a great nation and has been blessed beyond measure by Almighty God!
Can America endure much longer when the God who gave us our freedom is being mocked in the class room and His Word is being driven out of our national life and the Christianity upon which we were founded is bring replaced by the false religions of “liberalism”, “multiculturalism” and “political correctness”?
For a definition and explanation of liberalism, see my article on this topic in this series.
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