The Pointe

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#tbt - Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! 

While most of us celebrate today as the date in 1776 when our Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, we may forget another historical – yet related – event that occurred on this date in 1826: (*) 

The deaths of Thomas Jefferson, principal author and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and John Adams, fellow author and signer. The men, both presidents of the young country, had been “corresponding delightfully about a decade” before passing away on July 4, 1826. (*) 

Jefferson and Adams had been “corresponding delightfully for about a decade” before passing away on July 4, 1826. (*) 

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Another member of the writing committee was Benjamin Franklin, the intellectual of many talents who eventually became America’s first ambassador to France. (**) 

It’s hard to believe, but the Continental Congress appointed the writing committee on June 11, 1776, about a month before the historical document was passed by Congress on July 2 and ratified on July 4...The official parchment copy was not signed by the delegates until August 2. (**) 

Although we call it “The Declaration of Independence,” the document’s full name is “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.”  

Its opening lines have been committed to the American memory : (**) 

“....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...” (**) 

Despite the possibility of being executed for committing treason against England, delegates to the Continental Congress signed their names to the document that would guide a young country and impress the world forever. (**) 

Of course, the great irony in the history of the declaration is that Thomas Jefferson was a slaveowner. “Jefferson believed that slavery was morally wrong, but nonetheless owned slaves throughout his lifetime and feared a race war if American slaves were freed...” (**) 

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Thanks to our “Founding Fathers,” today America celebrates freedom from the tyranny that still ravages other countries...and continues on the path to right the wrongs of its past. 

Sources: 

 (*) “Understanding Thomas Jefferson” by E.M. Halliday. Published in 2001 by HarperCollinsPublishers. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library. 

(**)The primary source for this article is the revised version of “Words That Built A Nation – Voices of Democracy That have Shaped America’s History” by Marilyn Miller, Ellen Scordato and Dan Tucker. Published in 2018 by Rodale Kids, an imprint of Rodale Books. Available for checkout at MidPointe Library. 

Learn more about American history at MidPointe Library! Find on-shelf and online material for all ages at: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search 

And...on our vast eLibrary of research material: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary. 

Stop by your nearest MidPointe branch for all your historical needs: 

Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard our Library On Wheels Bookmobile.