Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Significance of the Declaration of Independence has not been diminished- by guest blogger Jessica Clackum

Its 10:30 pm

  Happy Independence Day. 
While the air around the house is filled with hundreds of fireworks going off,I am sitting inside drinking a iced coffee and watching Derek sleep on the cool tile in the bathroom. While I'm not into celebrating so much this year,watching a huge fireworks show was something Lori and I enjoyed doing.
  When we lived in Northville one year,we went for a Starbucks coffee and sat in the parking lot with another couple whom we didn't know and watched 3 different cities put on their firework shows. It was one of our favorite 4th of July that we enjoyed together.

There is a trend now among the blogging community....its called "guest blogging". Basically,if you see a writer you admire or have respect ask them to come submit a guest column/entry. It is supposed to bring some fresh air in terms of both readership and content (because really,don't you get tired of just reading my words?)
   So with that in mind,I reached out to fellow blogger Jessica Clackum who writes her blog here on Blogspot called "Release the Clackum". I admire Jessica's writing style very much,her point of view is very strong and covers a variety of issues both current and historical. While our politics may be slightly different,its doesn't take away from the fact Jessica can seriously "bring it" when it comes to blogging.
  I asked her to submit anything she felt a mind to write about and she sent the following column,I hope you enjoy it and thanks again,Jessica! I would love some feedback on this guest column and if you,the reader,like the idea of seeing a guest writer once in a while here.

It was a hot and balmy summer in 1776 when a group of fifty-six delegates from the thirteen colonies convened in a meeting hall in Philadelphia to discuss, among other things, the drafting of a document to the King of England, declaring once and for all, in no uncertain terms, the intent of the colonies to form an independent and sovereign nation.

The delegates chose five men to write this document; Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson and it took nearly one month to come up with a draft to present to Congress and several days to amend and eventually ratify it. To show a unified stance against the King, the ratification of the Declaration had to be unanimous. In the end it was all or nothing, there could be no dissenters. When the fifty-six delegates signed their names to this document, they essentially placed a bounty on their own heads for they knew should the war for independence be lost, they would surely be hanged.

The Declaration of Independence is often criticized because of the alleged hypocrisy of the statement "All men are created equal" at a time when slavery was prevalent and women's rights did not exist. However, this document cannot be judged by applying modern standards. A good historian knows that historical events must be viewed within the context of their time thus while the Document may seem incomplete, hypocritical, or flawed in 2013, it was not the case in 1776.

To understand the significance and impact of the Declaration of Independence, one must take into account the events of the time in which it was written. Take for example the issue of slavery which is one that is brought up time and time again when discussing the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence initially included a paragraph related to slavery however in order to ensure ratification by the Southern colonies, Jefferson had to remove it. While slavery was an important human rights issue, independence was an even greater issue at that moment and needed to be addressed first. There is no question however that while the Declaration did not address specifically the issue of slavery, it was symbolically important in later years in the quest to abolish slavery in the United States.

The Declaration of Independence is a testament to the human spirit and man's desire to be free. Consider for a moment the Continental Army which was essentially a ragtag collection of poorly trained and under-equipped men who left their jobs, farms, and families behind to fight against the most powerful military force in the world, knowing full well the odds against them. These men fought tirelessly in the most horrible conditions and thousands died from pneumonia, malnutrition and disease. Despite the odds, the Continental Army persevered. This was not just due to amazing leadership, it was that the desire to be free was so overwhelming, it gave the men something to fight for. There was so much at stake that failure was not an option.

The Declaration of Independence and the brave men who risked their lives by signing it and the sacrifice of the brave men and women who gave their lives and fought for the principles outlined in it still continues to serve as an example to millions of oppressed people around the world who yearn for freedom. Two hundred thirty-seven years after the signing, the significance of the Declaration has not diminished. If anything it has only become more important.

To follow Jessica's blog,just click on the link below or Blogs I Follow.

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