In celebration of the United States’ Independence, we bring you this true story of five men who broke through their terror barrier and made a commitment to something huge.
The thirteen colonies (what would become the United States) were being taxed unfairly under Great Britain’s rule. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman were the five men that stood up for the Colonist’s rights. They argued that Great Britain had no jurisdiction to tax the Colonies.
While all of the other Colonists felt that they were being treated unfairly, none of them were willing to say so, as their allegiance was still with the King of Great Britain. It was up to these five men to push for the rights of the Colonists. They met at the Virginia Convention and then again in Williamsburg to declare the Colonies independent. John Adams stood up for the resolution 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.
When these five men met to draft the Declaration of Independence, there was no working process. They did not have someone to lead the meeting, take minutes or even guide them as to how the ideas should be presented. They were on their own to take control and put all of their thoughts into an organized form that could be presented to Congress. The committee decided on a general outline that the document needed to follow, and then appointed Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft. The weight of the 13 Colonies’ independence now rested on Jefferson’s shoulders. Jefferson only had 17 days to finish the first draft. He then got comments and revisions from the other committee members and wrote a second draft. The document titled “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled” was presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.
These men knew that what was put on this paper could have cost them their lives, did they not receive backup from Congress and the other Colonists. If the King of Great Britain wanted to, he could have had these men executed for encouraging the Colonists to go against his rule. They put themselves on the line in order to gain freedom for the rest of the Colonies.
On July 2, 1776 Congress and 12 of the 13 colonies approved General Lee’s Resolution for Independence, severing ties between the Colonies and Great Britain for good. The next day, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife predicting that July 2nd would soon become a great American holiday. Congress then began to look at the Declaration of Independence. After several days of debating, word changing, and some content adjustment, Congress approved the document on July 4, 1776.
Today America celebrates 232 years of independence and freedom. Because these men did not let fear stand in their way, because they did not hesitate to make the right choice, American Citizens now have the right to vote, the right to free speech, the right to practice any religion, the right to a fair trial, just to name a few.