When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Those words were published 241 years ago today, in one of the most important documents in the history of civilization. The Declaration of Independence went on to state the case why a small group of colonists no longer felt that foreign rule applied to them. It sparked a flame that is still burning today.
No matter who you are, what you believe, or what you think of the world we live in here in 2017, I think we can all take a moment to admire the bravery, strength, courage, and thoughtfulness of that small group who put their names to the bottom of the document:
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Each of those people knew they could be signing their own death warrant that day. Yet, they took that risk for something they believed in. In those early days it wasn’t clear what would happen — the idea of American democracy or even of an American nation was far from settled. All that happened on that day was that a small group of people who claimed to represent their colonies came together to say, “Enough.”
It would be 7 years before the British government recognized American independence, 13 more years until the Constitution defined who we really are as a people. And every day we grow and change more and more. The founders of this nation wouldn’t recognize it today, yet I like to think that they might recognize our values.
Anyway, Solid Signal is closed today so our 100% US-based workforce can spend some time with their families. I hope you do too.