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This 4th of July, we will celebrate 245 years since 56 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence, outlining why the 13 colonies wanted independence from Great Britain and the British Crown.
The document was drafted by a committee made up of John Adams (40 years old), Benjamin Franklin (70) , Thomas Jefferson (32) , Roger Sherman (54) , and Robert Livingston. Jefferson, recognized for his ability with words, wrote the first draft; then it was edited by the others, and then edited again by the whole Congress.
King George III of Great Britain was 37 yrs old and had been king for 15 years when he went before Parliament in England in late 1775 and declared the American colonies in rebellion and stated his determination to bring them into submission to his ruling power.
By the time Jefferson sat down to pen his draft in 1776, a series of events had driven a wedge between Great Britain and its 13 colonies across the Atlantic.
On July 4, 1776 Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. As Benjamin Franklin said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
The commander-in-chief of the army George Washington, was 43 years old.
Benjamin Franklin. was 70 years old.
John Hancock who was president of the continental congress… he was 39.
John Adams was 40 (1735-1826) .
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was 33.
Brigadier General Nathaniel Greene, was 33 years old, the youngest brigadier general in the Continental Army. He was very close to George WA, and played a large part in the strategy of the war.
James Madison (1751-1836) was 24 years old. He composed the first drafts of the US Constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781, The year Madison turned 30 years old, he earned the nickname “Father of the Constitution”.
Alexander Hamilton at the time of the signing was 20 years old. He did not sign the D. Of I. But 1774–75, he wrote three influential pamphlets, which upheld some of the key agreements of the Continental Congress. Those anonymous publications—part of the Federalist papers, he wrote when he was 19 and 20 years old.
In March 1776, through the influence of friends in the New York legislature, Hamilton was commissioned a captain in the provincial artillery. He organized his own company and at the Battle of Trenton, and at this time was 21 years old.
John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, and explained how he felt the new found freedom should be celebrated:
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
1776, By David McCollough, © 2005, Simon & Schuster.
The 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence: