On this Independence Day, here’s a little history lesson for your kids.
In the summer of 1776 the fledgling Congress of the United States met in Philadelphia. They appointed a committee to write a formal document that would tell Great Britain that the Americans had decided to govern themselves.
The committee asked Thomas Jefferson to write a draft of the document. He worked for days, in absolute secret, until he had written a document that he thought said everything important that the committee had discussed.
On June 28, 1776, the committee met to read Jefferson’s document. They made some revisions and declared their independence on July 2, 1776. The Congress officially adopted the declaration on July 4, 1776.
In H. A. Guerber’s short story on Independence Day, he points out that John Hancock, the President of Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration. He wrote his name in large, plain letters, saying:
“There! John Bull can read my name without spectacles. Now let him double the price on my head, for this is my defiance.”
Then he turned to the other members, and solemnly declared:
“We must be unanimous. There must be no pulling different ways. We must all hang together.”
“Yes,” replied Ben Franklin, with humor, “we must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
One of the signers was Charles Carroll, who later became the first senator for the state of Maryland. After he signed the Declaration he thought his writing looked a little shaky. So he added the words, “of Carrollton,” so that the king would not make any mistake as to whose name stood there.
Happy Independence Day, from all of us at the New Shine.FM!
Listen to today’s audio here.