THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
We, the citizens of the United States of America, should never take for granted the price that was paid by our forefathers, who fought for our freedom and established this great country. There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. They put their lives, their careers, and their property in jeopardy by signing the precious document. They realized that they could no longer allow a tyrannical king to rule over the lives of their families and their countrymen. The only answer to a better life in the future for their loved ones and descendents was separation from England, and the establishment of a free nation. Thus, the Declaration of Independence was born.
Did the signers of the great document suffer for their bravery in declaring independence from England and its king? Yes, they did. The following are some historical statistics researched by E. Brooke Harlowe, Asst. Prof and Coordinator, Intl Studies major/minor, Dept. of Political Science, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA:
1. Five signers were captured by the British and tortured as traitors before they died.
2. Twelve signers’ homes were ransacked and burned by the British.
3. Two signers lost their sons in the Revolutionary War.
4. Two signers had their sons captured and imprisoned.
5. Nine signers fought in the Revolutionary War and died of their injuries or hardships.
6. Carter Braxton of Virginia had his ships taken by the British navy, sold his property to pay his debts, and died in poverty.
7. Thomas McKeam was forced to be on the run with his family, his possessions were confiscated, and he lived with his family in hiding as paupers.
8. Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton had their properties looted .
9. At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. had his house taken by General Cornwallis. It was destroyed during the battle, and he died bankrupted.
10. Francis Lewis home and property was destroyed. His wife was imprisoned and died within a few months.
11. John Hart had to leave his dying wife’s bedside to defend his country. His home was unprotected and his 13 children had to flee for their lives. They hid in the forest and in caves. After the war, he returned home find his property in ruins, his wife dead and his children lost. Within a few weeks he died of a broken heart.
12. Norris and Livingston faced similar events in their lives upon returning home from the war with loss of family and the ravaging of their property.
What were the precious words in the Declaration of Independence to inspire men to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes, and comforts for their families? The representatives from thirteen states of the new United States of America unanimously accepted the document and signed it. The following is an important quote from the declaration:
“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.”
The document continues by naming the tyrannical crimes committed upon the people of the United States of America by King George of England. It condemned the king for not respecting God’s people and the rights that He bestowed upon them. Thus, providing reasons for a necessary separation.
God was not left out of the Declaration of Independence. Its signers were men of faith. However, many public school and university textbooks, as well as teachers would have us believe that the founding fathers were non Christian deists. These people that claim to be educators have an atheistic, secular humanistic agenda to promote and a desire to indoctrinate our youth. We must be aware of those who would steal the truth from our children about the founding of our country.
The following quotes are from the founding fathers. They give evidence that those who established this country had a strong belief in the Great Creator God, and the Lord Jesus Christ:
1. George Washington, 1st president – “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” (The Writings of Washington, pp342-342)
2. John Adams, 2nd president – “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9)
3. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president – “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, and a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”(Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p 237) “I am a real Christian- that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385)
4. John Hancock, 1st signer of the Declaration of Independence – “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual…Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”(History of the United States of America, Vol. II p. 229)
5. Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.” (Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.)
Atheists and other anti-Christian groups did not establish this country. “The land of the free and the home of the brave,” was originally formed and fought for by Christians. Yet, Christianity is being driven out of our society by the liberal secular humanistic philosophy. We should not let this happen, and we need to teach our children the truth about their forefathers, and the founding of our country.