The Declaration of Independence, more than words on paper; Writing a Compelling Blog

Signing of Declaration of Independence
This is the eighth article in my series for Toastmasters Leadership Development, Level 4, Write a Compelling Blog

The Declaration of Independence is the most eloquent, provocative, and powerful document ever written by mortal men. What can be more eloquent than “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.“? And what about these words… “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it“…. People have the Right to abolish their government?. Provacative even today. But words that give the Declaration of Independence its real power are the closing words….”we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” The signers were willing to put everything on the line to achieve American independence. Everything. Of the 56 men who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, nine of the signers died in the war, five of those were tortured to death and twelve of them lost their homes and farms.

One of the heroic signers reminded me of the Lee Greenwood song, God Bless the USA. First of all, the Declaration of Independence was the first time the words United States of America (USA) were put on paper. When John Hart signed the Document he became a hunted man. For a year, he hid in caves and the forest. When he returned to his estate, it was looted and destroyed.

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

All the things he worked for all his life were gone.
Hart couldn’t start over with his children and his wife.
You see, when he returned, his wife was dead. His children were scattered to the four winds, never to be seen again.

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away

Yes, the thirteen-star flag did stand for freedom.
But they can’t take that away?
That wasn’t a sure thing. Not by a longshot.
Our nation was in a fight for its very survival. No, the British didn’t “take that away”, but they sure tried and almost did.

The story of John Hart was an extraordinary story of heroism. His story is only one of 56. Read about all of their stories. Watch a Youtube video. And don’t ever let anyone tell you the signers were nothing but a bunch of old white aristocrats. They were much more. They heroes one-and-all. We owe our great nation to them.

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