July 4th, 1776

July 4th, 1776.

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Happy Fourth of July. Whether you are enjoying the beach, or a barbecue, it is a great holiday to spend with your family. Here are nine things you might not have known about the Declaration of Independence!

There’s usually a lull on Fourth of July in the afternoon. You’ve gone to the beach or had the barbecue and its still a couple of hours before the fireworks start. Let me suggest that perhaps you fill the time by putting on a holiday movie this year.

Every year my wife’s family would gather around the television and watch the movie 1776. It was made in 1972, and tells the story of the Declaration of Independence being voted on and then signed. My wife this passed this tradition on to our family. It takes a little while for the kids to get into it, but it is actually a rather good telling of the events.

It is a little tough watching John Rutledge from my home state of South Carolina basically hold the proceedings hostage over the slavery clause in the Declaration. It foreshadows the events that would tear the country asunder in Civil War almost a century later. I wonder if they had any idea how their descendants would view them.

Our favorite part of the movie is every time the vote comes around to the representative from New York. I didn’t learn until I watched 1776 that the State Legislature of New York never sent their representative any instructions on how the people of New York wanted to vote. Without any idea if he should vote Yea or Nay, each time he responds, “The people of New York abstain, courteously”. It has become something of a running joke in my house. When his own house is destroyed by the British, he signs the Declaration despite of his lack of instructions.

Speaking of the Declaration, the New York Times is reporting we may have been reading it wrong all along. There may or may not be a period after “Happiness”.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July with family, and friends.

Image: “4th Of July” by nuttakit Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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