Blog #724 July 4th!!

The Declaration of Independence – part IV  (National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies)

From the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

So, let’s look at the phrase “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

From various sources:

“When the 56 Signers of The Declaration of Independence attached their signatures to that document, each knew they were committing treason against the British Crown.”

“Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.”

“What kind of men were they? Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.”

“In the face of the advancing British Army, the Continental Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore on December 12, 1776. It was an especially anxious time for John Hancock, the President, as his wife had just given birth to a baby girl. Due to the complications stemming from the trip to Baltimore, the child lived only a few months.”

WOW – so out of 56 – almost all had troubles.  

** Now, there is one other view (from Scopes – the internet’s definitively fact-checking resource)
“A popular essay outlines the fates of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but many of its details are inaccurate.”

Not-withstanding-the Scopes comment, while the details might be inaccurate, the big picture is that they did “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

There was great pain in the birth of our Country.  Think of childbirth (something that I never fully experienced) – the pain to bring a child into the world.  In a very similar sense the Declaration of Independence does the same. There was pain, bloodletting, and great agony.  For eight years (1775 to 1783) Americans fought for their freedom. There must have been some that early on threw up their hands and said “Hey – it’s not so bad being just colonies”  (After all, Benedict Arnold, a leading America soldier must have thought that at one time).

All for what we might say – so we can have picnics today, so we can have the Nathan’s Hotdog eating contest (tomorrow’s post).  So, members of congress can live lives of American royalty? But, it really was for our “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

What are you doing today?


Posted by Bruce White

Leave a Reply