Daily Bites of the Declaration of Independence #10:Short Bio Sketches of a few of the signers

The 240th anniversary of independence

This undated photo provided by Heritage Auctions shows a 1776 broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence. The broadside printing, to be auctioned April 5 in New York, was ordered on July 17, 1776, by the Massachusetts Bay Council and read by the Rev. Levi Frisbie to his congregation in Ipswich, north of Boston.

By Newt Gingrich 

This election year has been defined by candidates in both parties who are promising a political revolution. A majority of the American people are calling out for real change — for dethroning a comfortable and overbearing elite and replacing it with a more accountable government.

But if 2016 is a revolutionary year, it is also an appropriate year to remember the real revolution in our American history.

After all, in this 240th anniversary year of American independence, who better to look to than the key figure of the American Revolution, George Washington? Certainly his contemporaries — men like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison — saw Washington as the greatest of them all.

The Founding Fathers knew that George Washington was truly the indispensable man, as we portray in our new documentary film, “The First American.” While many of the Founders focused on words and ideals, it was up to Washington to win the war and hold the new nation together.

Today, in this season of insurgency in both parties, the story of Washington’s leadership during the summer of 1776 is the perfect reminder that aspirations are not enough to win a revolution. Big goals require action and hard work to accomplish. Presidential candidates and their supporters who aspire to carry forward a political revolution in 2016 should take note.

The first Independence Day, July 4, 1776, began with lofty aspirations. On that day, the delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia issued the Declaration of Independence. And certainly, this was a historic achievement: their vision has been the underlying political inspiration for Americans across many generations, and it remains so today. Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama have pointed to our shared belief in the ideals of the Declaration as the very thing that makes us American.

But in fact, it was not the Declaration that finally won Americans their independence. It was the unfathomable effort of an army, and the sheer fortitude of its leader, George Washington.

In this sense, Philadelphia was not the most important theatre during the summer of 1776. Instead, it was New York City, 100 miles northeast, where the Patriots determined whether the Declaration of Independence would have real meaning.

In New York harbor in early July of that year, more than 30,000 British troops and highly trained Hessian mercenaries were being offloaded on Staten Island. The British goal was to defeat the Continental Army and kill the American Revolution in its infancy.

Watching the British from across the harbor on Manhattan were just 9,000 troops under the command of General George Washington.

The stakes could not have been higher. As Washington himself wrote in his general order of July 2, 1776: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves…The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army — Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect — We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.”

One week later, on July 9, 1776, General Washington ordered the Declaration read to his troops in southern Manhattan. The troops listened to the inspiring words of the Declaration as they watched the British ships on the horizon.

 Afterward, in response, soldiers joined civilians rushing to the statue of King George III on Bowling Green. The crowd tore it down, and later melted the lead to make more than 40,000 bullets for use against the British.

Despite the excitement among his troops, Washington faced an impossible military situation in New York that summer. Without ships to transport his army swiftly across the waters surrounding New York City, there was no way he could prevail against a superior military force with a gigantic navy.

Nevertheless, Washington was determined to make a stand. He divided his army and put troops on Long Island to meet the British in what would be the largest battle of the entire war.

 It was a courageous move, but one that proved a disaster for the Patriots. Washington retreated to Brooklyn Heights, where his army faced annihilation. And yet, miraculously, he organized a successful nighttime evacuation of his troops from Brooklyn back to Manhattan.

 The final stretch of the evacuation, occurring after dawn, was shielded from the view of the British by a dense fog that suddenly appeared to cover the retreat. Eyewitnesses reported that Washington was the last person on shore.

The Continental Army lived to fight another day. And Washington learned a lesson that proved among the most important of the war: as long as he could avoid defeat, he could continue the fight and deny the British victory.

As we learned making “The First American,” keeping the Continental Army together for eight years as a fighting force that could hold its own against the British was a monumental challenge. It was a feat that no other Founding Father could have achieved. And it was the leadership of George Washington that eventually led to victory — and true American independence from Britain.

After the war, Washington resisted the temptation to become the new “King George” and returned to civilian life at his beloved Mount Vernon. Britain’s King George III said that this extraordinary act of deference to the rule of law made Washington the greatest figure of his age. It certainly earned him Americans’ universal trust as our first president.

Looking back from 2016, we know how Washington succeeded after eight long and difficult years. But looking forward from 1776, George Washington, the other founding fathers, and the troops of the Continental Army didn’t know the future. They only knew that they were mutually pledged in support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence.

Together with incredible effort and sacrifice, it was enough to win a revolution. It is our hope that the legacy of George Washington is not forgotten and will continue to inspire future generations of Americans.

For more on this below:
The First American

The Declaration of Independence #10
Short Bio Sketches of the Signers:

Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania addressing the Constitutional Convention: “How has it happened Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain when we were sensible to danger we had daily prayer in this room for Divine Protection. Our prayers Sir, were heard and were graciously answered, I have lived Sir, a long time and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth; that God governs in the affairs of men and if a sparrow can not fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? 

We have seen assured Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house the people labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe that!--- Benjamin Franklin. Quoting Stephen McDowell in America’s Providential History page 24: “This is a christian nation. With the coming of Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross for the sins of the world man’s ability to govern himself internally was restored. The law of God was no longer an external thing but now could be written on the heart of man. Christianity appeared with its central doctrine that man was created in Divine Image and destined for immortality pronouncing that in the eyes of God all men are created equal. 

This asserted for the individual and independent value. It occasioned the great inference that man is superior to the State: That State ought to exist for man; That justice, protection and the common good ought to be the aim of government. The Declaration of Independence states these christian ideas this way: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal ; That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; That to secure these rights governments are instituted by men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed:

I found the constitution short bios by Thomas Hughes.

Tidbits about the Constitution signers Five were captured by British soldiers and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary War. Nine of the fifty six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary war. they signed and pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor Twenty four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers, well educated and plantation owners. they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well their punishment would be death if they were captured. thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he put his family in hiding. 

He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free!

(to be continued)
To be Continued in the Next Daily Bites of History Series

In case You Missed our American History Series  On (American Revolution )
 The Great Awakening

In case You Missed our Constitution series or just want to Refresher ,we have the complete series below. 

There is Nothing Wrong with the Constitution it's the people we elected to uphold their oaths ,That are the Problems .

This my friends is where all our hopes and dreams ,Freedoms ,Liberties were formed some 240 years ago ,by a group of men with foresight to see way down the road for what is today. The Greatest Country in the World,And Still Is,as long as WE THE PEOPLE STAND UP FOR OUR FREEDOMS 

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