The 56 rebels knew they very well might be hanged for what they were about to do. As lawyers, merchants, farmers and landowners, they had plenty to lose. Fighting against an imperial ruler, they had everything to gain.
They were embarking on an adventure - not only because they were revolting against their own government and fighting outmanned and outgunned against a superior military - but because they were creating a radical approach to self-governance.
The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, knew the only way they ever would be successful in their audacious plan was if they stood together. As Benjamin Franklin said at the signing, “if we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”
Our founders shared a unified vision for our nation. They understood that unity of the many was necessary to uphold the sovereignty of the individual and the fundamental, unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To ensure the sovereignty of each individual American, our Founding Fathers knew the country would have to be unified on certain principles and values: a limited constitutional government, a free market, a respect for “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and a strong national defense.
Sadly, we are in danger of squandering the precious gift those 56 rebels gave us 236 years ago.
We have become a nation of “special interests” - but what interest can be more special than preserving the greatness of the United States of America and the freedoms of all its citizens?
We have politicians who would rather divide us based on income, gender or race than unite us as Americans. They want citizens to believe that “all men were created equal” really means “all men are entitled to an equal share.” They want their fellow Americans to believe anyone else’s economic success always comes at their own expense.