Independence Day
An excerpt from American Minute with Bill Federer

President Ronald Reagan declared May 9, 1983:
"The Founding Fathers understood that only by MAKING GOVERNMENT THE SERVANT, not the master, only by positing SOVEREIGNTY in THE PEOPLE and not the state, can we hope to protect freedom ...

In 1776, the source of government excess was the crown's abuse of power and its attempt to suffocate the colonists with its overbearing demands.

In our own day, the danger of too much state power has taken a subtler but no less dangerous form."


Twenty-seven abuses of King George the Third were listed in the Declaration of Independence, signed JULY 4, 1776.

These included:

A two-tiered justice system:
"... He has made judges dependent on his will alone ..."

Weaponizing bureaucracy:
"... He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance ..."

Imposing martial law:
"... He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies ...

... To subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution ...

... For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us ..."

Targeting political opposition:
"... For imposing taxes on us without our consent ...

... For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury ...

... For ... establishing ... an arbitrary government ...

... For ... altering fundamentally the forms of our governments ..."

Turning law enforcement and military against his own subjects:
"... He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

... He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny ...

... He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

33-year-old Thomas Jefferson's original rough draft of the Declaration also contained a line condemning slavery, as the King of England was part owner of the Royal African Company:

"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself ... in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither ...

... suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold."

Unfortunately, a few delegates from southern states objected to this line. Since everyone was in a panic as the British were invading New York and the city was in flames, and since the Declaration needed to pass unanimously, the line in Jefferson's original draft condemning slavery was tragically set aside.

John Hancock, the 39-year-old President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration first, reportedly saying "the price on my head has just doubled."

Next to sign was Secretary, Charles Thomson, age 47.

70-year-old Benjamin Franklin said:
"We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately."

When the King infringed upon people's Creator-given rights, the founders went above the King's head, appealing in the Declaration directly to God Himself as the author of individual rights:

"Laws of Nature and of NATURE'S GOD ..."

"All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights .."

"Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WORLD for the rectitude of our intentions ..."

"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."


The line "all men are created equal" fundamentally changed government, as kings did not believe everyone was created equal.
They believed they were created extra special.
It was called "the divine right of kings," namely, that the Creator gives rights to the king and he dispenses them at his discretion to whoever he wishes.

The Declaration of Independence bypassed the King, declaring that the Creator gives rights directly to each individual person.


Many of the 56 signers sacrificed their prosperity for their posterity.
Of the signers:
11 had their homes destroyed;
5 were hunted and captured;
17 served in the military; and
9 died during the war.

27-year-old George Walton signed, and at the Battle of Savannah was wounded and captured.

Signers Edward Rutledge, age 27, Thomas Heyward, Jr., age 30, and Arthur Middleton, age 34, were made prisoners at the Siege of Charleston.

38-year-old signer Thomas Nelson had his home used as British headquarters during the siege of Yorktown. Nelson reportedly offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house.

Signer Carter Braxton, age 40, lost his fortune during the war.

42-year-old signer Thomas McKean wrote that he was "hunted like a fox by the enemy, compelled to remove my family five times in three month."

46-year-old Richard Stockton signed and was dragged from his bed at night and jailed.

50-year-old signer Lewis Morris had his home taken and used as a barracks.

50-year-old signer Abraham Clark had two sons tortured and imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey.
More Americans died on British starving ships than died in battle during the Revolution.

53-year-old signer Rev. John Witherspoon's son, James, was killed at the Battle of Germantown.

60-year-old signer Philip Livingston lost several properties to British occupation and died before the war ended.

63-year-old signer Francis Lewis found out that the British plundered his home and carried away his wife, Elizabeth, putting her in prison.
The British wanted to make an example of her, so they denied her a change of clothes, a bed, and gave her nothing but the most meager food. She was treated so harshly that she died shortly after being released.

65-year-old signer John Hart had his home looted and had to remain in hiding, dying before the war ended.

41-year-old John Adams wrote:
"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."

Regarding the day the Declaration was signed, John Adams wrote to his wife:
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival.
It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by SOLEMN ACTS OF DEVOTION TO GOD ALMIGHTY.
It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

Gustave de Beaumont, a contemporary of Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Marie ou L'Esclavage aux E'tas-Unis, 1835:
"i have seen a meeting of the Senate in Washington open with a prayer, and the anniversary festival of the Declaration of Independence consists, in the United States, of an entirely religious ceremony."

John Adams continued in his letter to his wife:
"You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not.
I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.
Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.
And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."

When 54-year-old Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said:
"We have this day restored THE SOVEREIGN to whom all men ought to be obedient.
He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

34-year-old James Wilson signed the Declaration. He later signed the Constitution and was appointed to Supreme Court by George Washington. James Wilson stated in 1787:
"After a period of 6,000 years since creation, the United States exhibit to the world THE FIRST INSTANCE of a nation ... assembling voluntarily ... and deciding ... that system of government under which they and their posterity should live."

Senator Daniel Webster stated in 1802:
"Miracles do not cluster, and what has HAPPENED ONCE IN 6,000 YEARS, may not happen again.
Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."