The Little Known Story of the Declaration of Independence

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American Thinker

By Scott S. Powell

July 4th, also known as Independence Day, is a much more lighthearted and festive American holiday — with cookouts, parades, beach and boating parties and fireworks — than other patriotic holidays such Memorial Day or Veterans Day. Most people forget that when the 56 members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they were in fact signing their death warrants. At the time, Great Britain was the most powerful nation on earth, while the thirteen American colonies were poor and disunited. The British Crown deemed the issuance of a declaration of independence an act of treason, which meant that all signatories would be punishable by death.

It is a little known historical fact that for this reason, combined with the low odds of prevailing against the British Army and Navy, the identities of the 56 members of the Continental Congress who committed to separating from England were not made immediately public. For the first six months following the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, copies of the document displayed only two signatures: John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress and Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress.

Indeed, things looked grim for the Continental Army in the first few months of the war for independence. Sir William Howe successfully led the British army to defeat the colonial army and capture New York City by September 1776. While his troops felt utterly overwhelmed, with retreat bringing on dejected morale, General George Washington was a man of extraordinary faith. When Washington first received a copy of the Declaration about a week after its drafting, he had immediately ordered that chaplains be hired for every regiment, stating his purpose was to assure that, “every officer and man, will endeavor so live and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”

What prompted the Continental Congress to begin displaying all 56 signatories of the Declaration can be traced to Washington’s determination and success three months later at the Battle of Trenton in December 1776 — a remarkable victory considering the odds were no better than they had been when he faced utter defeat in New York. Perceiving this a miracle and harbinger of more victories to come, and perhaps with apparent taking to heart of the last sentence in the Declaration that “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” the Continental Congress, aka the Founding Fathers, began posting the fully-signed copies of the Declaration throughout the thirteen colonies in January 1777.

If we take the Declaration of Independence seriously in terms of the words selected to mobilize support for the cause, the Founding Fathers placed everything on the line and trusted the Almighty for the results. As esteemed British historian Paul Johnson notes: “The Americans were overwhelmingly churchgoing, much more so than the English, whose rule they rejected. There is no question that the Declaration of Independence was, to those who signed it, a religious as well as a secular act.”

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Protecting America Bears No Shame

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Family Security Matters

by JUSTIN O. SMITH

President Trump doesn’t need to issue any new travel ban order, that may or may not please the anti-American activist judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal or other supporters of Islam and Sharia law (see Justice Elena Kagan’s tenure at Harvard University), open borders and international communism in the Supreme Court and within America’s own population. His original order was well within the U.S. Constitution and the law, and, in order to stop this current intrusion on the president’s authority in areas of foreign policy and national security, a usurpation of power and a judicial coup d’etat, President Trump should defy the 9th Court and set to work with the Republican majority and any agreeable Democrats to limit the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution and reclaim stolen legislative powers for Congress.

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The Right to Bear Arms is a Natural Right

The 2nd Amendment has taken heavy criticism almost from its inception. It is no hyperbole to consider it the most controversial passage in all of United States law. Due to an apparent (though imagined) increase in gun crime in recent years, many are calling for repealing the Amendment and instituting tougher restrictions on firearms acquisition, ownership, transportation, and use.

Without addressing the relative effectiveness of such legal actions in reducing violent crime or the practicality of overturning 1/10th of the bill of rights, this article will show that a repeal of the 2nd Amendment will have no legal or moral impact upon the right of private citizens to own, carry, and use firearms for the purpose of self-defense.

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A Republic If You Can Keep It!

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Family Security Matters

by AMBASSADOR HENRY F. COOPER

 

Anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall immediately after the U.S. Constitution was signed to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. According to Constitution signer James McHenry, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin,

“Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Indeed, we are a republic, not a democracy as many would claim these days. Our Founders were steeped in World History and understood that, as Plato wrote in his Republic, tyranny can arise from democracyDr. Kuehnelt-Leddihn, a European scholar, linguist, world traveler, and lecturer, wrote in 1988 about “Democracy’s Road to Tyranny.” Click here for his description of three “organic” pathways for this unwelcome evolution to occur. It is worth a few minutes of your time to read.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is often memorably quoted as saying, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Click here for a Snopes report that a more accurate quote (from February 5, 1976 – a year after Mrs. Thatcher won the leadership of the opposition Conservative Party and three years before she became Prime Minister) is:

“I would much prefer to bring them [the Labor Party] down as soon as possible. I think they’ve made the biggest financial mess that any government’s ever made in this country for a very long time, and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalize everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalization, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.” 

Prime Minister Thatcher’s approach to governing changed Great Britain for the better and she became Ronald Reagan’s most trusted partner in his “revolution” that reversed these same tendencies in 1980 and brought us the “Morning in American” about which I wrote in my last message.  (Click here.)

The United States is approaching that “tipping point” that Maggie Thatcher warned Britain about – and which our founders sought to avoid by how they structured the Constitution to give the States authorities to hedge against too much power being centralized in the Federal Government. And recent trends have created more recipients of government programs and resource requirements that threaten to exceed the ability of the American taxpayer to support, especially given our past growing jobless claims with no true improvement is sight, at least before last week’s election.

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Notice How Hillary, Obama Won’t Call the USA a Republic

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Independent Sentinel

President Obama and Hillary Clinton only refer to the United States as a “democracy”. Even today, when Barack Obama talked about the results of the election he mentioned the nature of our “democracy”. When Hillary mentioned it in her speech Wednesday morning, she said that the United States is a “constitutional democracy”.

It’s not an issue if they are simply using the words interchangeably for our actual form of government, but are they?

Our government is a constitutional Republic or a constitutional federal representative democracy.  We are a democracy but the fact that we have checks and balances, safeguards such as states’ rights and the separation of powers, assures that we are not a direct democracy. Another safeguard is in the electoral college.

Democracies are unbridled mobocracies and they always descend into tyranny.

None of Obama’s team or Hillary’s will ever refer to the United States as a Republic.

There is danger in that.

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President Ronald Reagan Remarks at Memorial Day Ceremonies (1982)

Family Security Matters

Mr. President, General, the distinguished guests here with us today, my fellow citizens:

In America’s cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.

In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage-not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them-not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

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