As an adult, you have a lot of things on your plate. You may have a job or a family. You may be a student or you may have just retired. History is something that you studied when you were younger. Many people view things like the Declaration of Independence as an important part of history, but something that was important when it was on the upcoming test. They rarely give thought to it now. In reality, the Declaration of Independence is no less important now then it was back in 1776.
The Declaration of Independence was a document full of reasons for the states to leave the rule of the British. Colonists wanted more than to be told what to do by a country that was an ocean away. America was filled with innovative thinkers and great young (and old) minds. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and cousin John Adams, John Hancock and many more of what we affectionately call our ‘founding fathers’ were involved in this mission to establish America as its own self-ruling country.
Thomas Jefferson was assigned the task of actually writing the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was already a popular writer at the time. Jefferson took three weeks to write the Declaration, and the Continental Congress who gave him the task had only a few adjustments to make before 56 men signed the Declaration.
Many of us are familiar with this brief history lesson. The great majority of us know what the Declaration of Independence was and when it was written, but few know about the deeper implications of the Declaration of Independence.
All 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were risking their very lives to do so. Signing and being a part of writing such a declaration was treasonous to the rule of Great Britain, and the majority of the signers saw bitter consequences as a result of their actions. Some signers were killed; others were beaten, robbed or destroyed professionally. Even the family members of the signers of the Declaration of Independence suffered. Even for generations following the event of the signing, citizens loyal to British rule continued to persecute the supporters of the Declaration.
The great majority of the signers were leaders in their economical sector. There were agriculturists, lawyers, doctors, inventors, etc. These signers were among those who had the most to lose, yet they believed in the words of the Declaration and were willing to sacrifice everything that they held dear for the hope of a better life for their family and future generations.
The impact of the Declaration of Independence is said to be the greatest of all American written works. The Declaration of Independence has formed the structure of American government as we know it. Although amendments have been added, the influence of the Declaration is un-arguable.
The Declaration of Independence asserts the fundamental American ideal of government which is a system based on the rights of the people. We have all heard the phrase, “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.” But many times we fail to fully appreciate the meaning of these words and the fact that the dreams of those members of the Continental Congress of 1776 have been realized.
It is because of what was done in June of 1776 that we are allowed to live the lives that we want to. We now have the opportunity to attain whatever makes us happy. Although achieving our goals may not be easy, it is possible, and the founding fathers have left their example of what can be accomplished when you are willing to sacrifice to make a dream come true.