Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Founding Fathers

The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull

Who Were the Founding Fathers?

For those of you who have forgotten your history, Independence Day is the day the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress. We still had a long, hard slog through years of war to become a country, to write a Constitution, to elect a government - it was the day intent for freedom and liberty was stated. Today, commemorate the 56 brave men who stood up to oppression and tyranny. They risked everything for our future. Here are some of their stories.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Many lost their lives, more lost their fortunes, but none lost their honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. 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 all but 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 thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and 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.

All gave their fortunes to the fight for Independence.

Some of us take our liberties for granted, but we shouldn’t. 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. Then, thank the many down through our history who have fought for us, thank the men and women who are serving our country today, who fight for us, so that we will not have to.


Sarge Charlie said...

"Never was so much owed by so many to so few"
Sir Winston Churchill

Buck said...

Not only were the Founding Fathers brave patriots, there were MANY intellectual giants among them, as well. Whenever I read their stories I'm consistently amazed at how far ahead of their time and prescient they were.

Great post, Cynthia.

Wade Huntsinger said...

Seems it is the other way around these days. The folks running this country are rich and only getting richer. Even in the State offices you have to be of means to occupy those offices. Now, when you are done you get charge whopping fees to come and speak. Not sure where we are headed.

Flag Gazer said...

Wade - the Founders never intended professional politicians - yet, here we are!

Sarge Charlie said...

I almost duplicated your post, I had mine in the can for the 4th so I posted it today.

Cop the Truth said...

Great post. We are, indeed, fortunate..

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Hope you are enjoying your 4th of July weekend!

Thanks for doing all that you do to honor and support the troops and our country.