by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Thomas Jefferson produced a 'fair' copy of the document now known as the Declaration of Independence for the Draft Committee on June 28, 1776. Jefferson had been asked by his fellow committeemen, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to perform this service.
The drafting and signing of the Declaration was another step on the road to a new form of government, one which removed sovereignty from the person of a monarch, investing autonomy in individuals who, together, became the government.
The Declaration was then, and now, America's Mission Statement.
The American Revolution began with a dialog on ideas about government which took place through the Committees of Correspondence, the 1700's version of the Internet. These committees brought about a common understanding and determination. Some formed through legislatures of the respective colonies, others by extra-governmental associations, such as the Sons of Liberty.
The Sons of Liberty was formed in the summer of 1765 in Boston following the violent reaction in that city to the Stamp Act erupting on August 14th.
The Sons of Liberty carried out the Boston Tea Party, tossing crates of tea into Boston's Harbor on December 16, 1773.
The Shot Heard 'Round the World, of April 19, 1775 was only one of several confrontations between the British military and colonists. These confrontations were possible because colonists were armed and familiar with the use of weapons. Militias for the defense of their towns and communities had begun by order of their legislatures over a hundred years earlier. All men were members of the militia, required to have weapons.
Aware they would need arms to defend their homes and fight for their freedom patriots in New Hampshire stormed the colony's arsenal on December 14, 1774 to be met by gunfire. The raiders hauled down the British flag, making off with around 100 barrels of gunpowder. The next night the fort was raided again. Patriots came away with small arms, military supplies and, 16 cannon marked as the property of the King.
24 hours after the shot at Concord Bridge it is estimated 10,000 armed men were marching toward the site of conflict which would not end until after the surrender of General Cornwallis, surrounded by land and sea, on October 30, 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia.
Fireworks came later. Early celebrations of the 4th focused on a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.