Would You Be Brave Enough…
to Sign Your Name to the Declaration of Independence?

Portrait of John Bernard Hancock Courtesy of History on the Net

When was the last time you signed a petition or a letter of support or clicked a thumbs up on an online message? Did you want a street light at the end of your block, or want the City Council to approve a greenbelt? Did your signature cost you any money, take much time, endanger your safety?

Not so with the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, which set the stage for a new nation, the first constitutional republic in the world, and the first experiment in self-government.  The minute they signed their names, they became wanted men – if captured by the British, they would be tried for treason and hung; nearly all 56 men saw their fortunes devastated, and their families scattered into hiding for safety. Their signatures cost them dearly.
Of the 56 men gathered together in 1776, most were distinguished and proven leaders from their respective colonies.  Some were born into wealth, some self-made. Some were educated in the best colleges, some were self-taught. Among them were lawyers, ministers, shippers, merchants, doctors, and farmers. Eight were foreign born – from the British Isles. Except for one Catholic and a few Deists, most were Protestants. They ranged in age from 26 to 70; two were bachelors and the rest had an average of six offspring.
Fourteen of them represented New England Colonies (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire); twenty-one represented the Middle Colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware); twenty-one others represented the Southern Colonies (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia).
None were ever repaid for their financial loses, none had their burned down homes rebuilt by a thankful country, none received a life time pension. They signed away their comfortable existences, their safety, their money, their lives for an idea, and trusted that future leaders and citizens would do the same.

Ben Franklin advised his 55 colleagues that “We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”
The 4th of July, Independence Day, has been a federal holiday since 1941, but celebrations date back to the American Revolution. Written in longhand mostly by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by delegates from the 13 colonies, The Declaration of Independence was copied and read to the public in Philadelphia, and sent out to the other colonies for public readings. Celebrations began immediately over the news of INDEPENDENCE!!!
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “this day will be celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival”, and that the celebration should include “Pomp and parade…games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this continent to the other.”
In 1776, some colonists celebrated by holding mock funerals for King George III.  Muskets and cannons were fired and the Declaration of Independence was read to all the crowds. As for hot dogs and ice cream…those came along later.

July 1, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the first income tax bill, levying a 3% income tax on annual incomes of $600-$10,000 and a 5% tax on incomes over $10,000. Also on this day, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was established by an Act of Congress.

July 2, 1776 – The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the following resolution, originally introduced on June 7, by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia: “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”

July 2, 1788 – Congress announced the United States Constitution had been ratified by the required nine states and that a committee had been appointed to make preparations for the new American government.

July 4, 1776 – The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.

July 5, 1775 – The Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition expressing hope for a reconciliation with Britain. However, King George III refused even to look at the petition and instead issued a proclamation declaring the colonists to be in a state of open rebellion.

July 8, 1776 – The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence occurred as Colonel John Nixon read it to an assembled crowd in Philadelphia.

July 13, 1787 – Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance establishing formal procedures for transforming territories into states. It provided for the eventual establishment of three to five states in the area north of the Ohio River, to be considered equal with the original 13. The Ordinance included a Bill of Rights that guaranteed freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, public education and a ban on slavery in the Northwest.

July 31, 1790 – The U.S. Patent Office first opened its doors. The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a new method of making pearlash and potash. The patent was signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Courtesy of The History Place –


“Our mission is to develop the next generation of patriots, educating them on the values, the principles and the Judaeo-Christian foundation on which our country was created and to instill in them the need to be diligent in keeping our God-given freedoms and liberties.”

VLS Principles
To maintain liberty one must accept personal responsibility. People should not rely on government to provide for themselves or their families, nor to secure their private property. Natural Law is the basis of our Constitution, which means our rights come from our Creator rather than from men. Our Constitution enshrines into law equal justice for all. Private charity provides help during times of adversity, while government handouts enable permanent dependency. The balance between tyranny and anarchy is liberty. There is a major difference between a constitutional republic, which secures the rights of the minority, verses a democracy, which is mob rule.

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