Two-hundred-and-thirty-eight years ago a group of delegates representing the 13 British colonies along the Atlantic coast met in Philadelphia to pass a resolution declaring our independence.
The delegates constituted an organization known as The Constitutional Congress. They had spent the spring debating the document and once they agreed on what it should contain, they asked Thomas Jefferson to write the final draft. Then on July 4,1776, they approved the resolution and invited all the delegates to sign it.
The first person to step forward to sign the Declaration was John Hancock. Why did he sign it first with such a large signature? He said he wanted to be sure that King George could read it. At that time, John Hancock was serving as President.
Not all the delegates were there to sign on July 4th. They came in during the next several weeks to sign the document. Among the last signees were the three delegates from Georgia. You will find their signatures on the bottom left of the document. They were Lyman Hall, George Walton and “Button” Gwinnett.
Now, most of you think George Washington was our first president. That is not the case. He was the first Constitutional President. There were two governments before the Constitution was approved. Each of them had presidents. The first president of the Continental Congress was a Virginia Delegate named Payton Randolph. Do a Google search on “Early Presidents” and you can find a list of those people who were named President before Washington.
Congress spent a lot of time debating the exact language of the Declaration of Independence. Many changes were made from the original draft. For instance: The original line about the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness originally was life, liberty and property. Many delegates objected to the word “property” because that included slaves. So the word “property” was replaced with “pursuit of happiness.”
Once the document was signed, a number of delegates urged that the date be celebrated with parades, speeches and banquets. And so it has been for every year sense. I urge each of you to get a copy of the Declaration and read it as part of your 4th of July memorial. If you do not have one, send your address to the e-mail below and I will send you one.
So gather your kids together and head out to one of the many local celebrations of America’s birthday. We have held those celebrations every year sense 1776. Come join the fun and remember how our nation came into existence. And make sure your children know what we are celebrating!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.
07/01/14 at 10:43 AM
Would we be teaching them to celebrate those times and what they really stood for and meant ?
Should we be teaching the destruction of what has been fought for and lost since the ?
Not by a foreign enemy either but rather by our own government.
We are being overrun by people we don't even know who they are . Has anyone heard about the Stanley Farms lawsuit in South Georgia a big Vidalia Onion grower ?
After reading this article I will never buy another Vidalia onion again .
It was on the WSB website . Not a mention of it elsewhere . Imagine that . If anybody is interested or cares I saved the article and would be glad to provide it .