INDEPENDENCE DECLARED IN PHILADELPHIA 237 YEARS AGO TODAY
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) The Second Continental Congress, meeting here in Philadelphia 237 years ago today, July 4, 1776, proclaimed the thirteen American colonies were "free and independent states."
The Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Virginia's Thomas Jefferson, came after more than a year of armed conflict with Great Britain.
The Declaration of Independence begins with these words:
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind require that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Most of the remainder of the document lists specific charges against His Majesty, King George III of Great Britain.
These charges are listed with the intent to demonstrate the fact that the King had violated colonial rights.
Thomas Jefferson drew on George Mason's draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Declaration of Rights of 1689.
Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
"Yale Dunlap Broadside"
printed by John Dunlap
JFK and the Liberty Bell
JFK NAMED WINNERS OF 1ST PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy announced the recipients of the 1st Presidential Medal of Freedom fifty years ago today, July 4, 1963.
Included among the winners of the medal were singer Marian Anderson, cellist Pablo Casals, jurist Felix Frankfurter, inventor Edwin H. Land and Governor Luis Munoz Martin of Puerto Rico.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
SOUTH CAROLINA SIGNERS SACRIFICED FOR THE CAUSE
Charleston, South Carolina (JFK+50) We are back in Charleston for the 4th of July celebration this year and would like to honor three signers of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina who, like many others, sacrificed for the cause.
Thomas Heyward Jr. fought at Port Royal Island in 1779. He was wounded and captured the following year during the siege of Charleston. In 1781, the British pillaged his home. Heyward was a prisoner of war in St. Augustine and at the end of the war was nearly killed in a fall overboard ship.
Edward Rutledge, 26 years old in 1776, was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was involved in the defense of Port Royal Island and also was captured during the siege of Charleston. Like Heyward, Rutledge was a prisoner of war at St. Augustine.
Arthur Middleton was the son of one of the richest landowners in South Carolina. His father owned 50,000 acres of land and 800 slaves. Like Heyward and Rutledge, he was captured during the siege of Charleston and imprisoned at St. Augustine. The British destroyed his family home, Middleton, but he later had it restored.
"The Cost of Revolution," by Steve Brodner, The New York Times, Thursday, July 4, 2013.