Happy 4th! - 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. Here's what happened to them afterwards...

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Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing talk straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July Holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: Freedom is never free! I hope you will show your support by please sending this to as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), July 04, 2000



AMEN!!!,I am so glad to see this piece posted,it has made my day.These men are my heroes,the not so noteritable figures of Washington and Jefferson but the majority of our Founding Fathers.

"It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games."

Thank You,again.This is the BEST post I have seen here in a blue moon.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 04, 2000.

Agreed. My understanding of the revolutionary war was that it was a nasty and ambiguous business. The British were short-sightedly bleeding the colony of everything they could squeeze, and this mostly offended those who were successful in business and wanted to keep their money.

Probably a majority of the population considered themselves loyal British subjects, and as ever most of the population didn't want to get involved in any dangerous unpleasantness. So in large degree the wealthy locals purchased soldiers, while the British recruited the loyalists. It was touch and go, local money (and some limited revolutionary fervor being drummed up by pamphleteers) against overextended British supply and communication lines (augmented by local loyalist production and some limited autonomy for the commanders on the ground).

And most of the colonists kept a wary eye on the progress of the war, with the intention of throwing their support behind the winner, as soon as the winner became obvious. (Footnote: The DAY AFTER the election, thousands of bumper stickers for whoever won show up on bureauocrats' cars in government parking lots.)

Nonetheless, such a revolution was only a matter of time, before (as happened) sufficient self-interest became invested in local and immediate (rather than arbitrary and distant) affairs. The British could have postponed this with less greedy and high-handed policy, but not forever.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), July 04, 2000.


-- al-d. (dogs@zianet.com), July 04, 2000.


While I personally have given you full rein to post "fulltime" sometimes there is a time to shut the hell up and not twist a thread to suit your personal agenda,do it to cpr or andy,leave the rest of us alone,please,please,please.


My research does dot indicate the feeling within the colonies that you portray,many were willing and ready to take on the British with whatever means available.The juxtoposition that you offer is somewhat skewed in that most of the "world" at that time was very fearsome of the allmighty England and Would Not even through their contempt think about fighting or going against the british.

The soldiers that were paid by Americans were mostly disenfranchised Eurpeans,Indians,former endentured servants and the likes of people that don't like a government riding rough-shot over them and stealing their money.Yes,those guys were wealthy by comparison to the regular person,but were destitute in comparison to the British crown.

If everybody waited to see what way the wind was blowing how is it that we won the war?It was not by wishful thinking!!!

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 04, 2000.

Thanks for posting this. I had read almost to the end before even My Nitpickiness realized that it wasn't formatted into paragraphs.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), July 04, 2000.

nice sort of special on CBN yesterday. they interviewed george washington (or an actor who portrays him). they also happened to mention (for all those folks who think america was not intended to be based on christian principles) that the preamble to the constitution included 120 biblical references.

-- tt (cuddluppy@aol.com), July 05, 2000.

tt, you should read more books and watch less TV. Read The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness and you will find the truth behind the Constitution. The book has every reference and footnote of sources to back up every statement.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), July 05, 2000.

being british I think they were complete bastards, no only kidding, it had to happen I suppose

-- richard (richard.dale@onion.com), July 06, 2000.

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