Independence Day: The Declaration of Independence
Posted by Pamela S. on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Today is Independence Day. These truths may be self evident, but we are still working on attaining these rights. All people are still not treated equally and at times, we seem to put the pursuit of happiness above all else.
A lot of people don’t have respect for government and law. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you are on, we spend more time trying to find flaws in our politicians and destroy their credibility. I write about people who have a connection to the law, whether they are private investigators, lawyers, or in law enforcement. In honor of the Fourth of July and the men and women who uphold the law, here is a little occupational information on each of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. For more information visit ushistory.org.
George Read was educated at Philadelphia College, a private school in Chester Pennsylvania, where he studied law. He later became Attorney General in Pennsylvania, eventually becoming a State Senator and Chief Justice of the State of Delaware.
Thomas McKean studied to become a lawyer. He later became Deputy Attorney General to County Sussex, and finished his career as Governor of Pennsylvania.
Caesar Rodney studied informally and became a Judge. He was the commissioned High Sheriff of Kent County and eventually became a Member of the Upper House of the State Assembly of Delaware.
George Clymer was a Member of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety. He went on to become first President of Philadelphia Bank, President of Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and Vice-President of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society.
Robert Morris apprenticed as a merchant. He went on to become a United States Senator and was appointed Secretary of the Treasury.
Benjamin Rush obtained a B.A. at the College of New Jersey, which would later become Princeton. He became an M.D. at the University of Edinburgh. Rush was a writer, a Professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia, and went on to become Professor of medical theory and clinical practice, University of Pennsylvania.
James Smith apprenticed as a lawyer with his brother George. He worked as a surveyor and later became a lawyer. He was appointed Brigadier General of the Pennsylvania militia.
George Taylor trained as an Ironmaster at the Warwick Furnace and Coventry Forge. Not much is known about his life.
Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s best and brightest and a renaissance man. Franklin was a well known printer and publisher, an author, political theorist, musician and inventor. He was given an Honorary Doctor of Laws at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. Franklin was also a Scientist, a Postmaster of Philadelphia and later Postmaster General of the United Colonies. He became President of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery. I could write an entire post on Franklin's accomplishments. An entire book.
John Morton was a Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, Presiding Judge of the General Court and the Court of Common Pleas and went on to become Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
George Ross studied law. He became a Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania.
James Wilson Attended the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh and was bestowed an Honorary M.A. from Philadelphia College. He became Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Representing the colony of Massachusetts
John Adams Graduated from Harvard where he studied law. He went on to become second President of the United States.
John Hancock, famous for his signature, graduated from Harvard College. He was eventually elected Governor of Massachusetts.
Elbridge Gerry was also a graduate of Harvard College and became Vice-President of the United States, serving with Madison.
Samuel Adams obtained a Master of Arts at Harvard. He was a tax-collector, and went on to become Elected Governor of Massachusetts.
Robert Treat Paine was a Graduate of Harvard College. He became a lawyer and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.
Representing New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett was a Physician and Judge who became Elected Governor of New Hampshire.
Matthew Thornton was a Physician Appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire Troops, who attained the position of Associate Justice of the Superior Court.
William Whipple was a Commissioned Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia and became Appointed Associate Judge to the Superior Court.
Representing Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, a lawyer and educator, was the Speaker of the Rhode Island Assembly, and Member of Rhode Island Legislature.
William Ellery attended Harvard College to become a lawyer. He became a Judge of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
Representing New York
Lewis Morris was a Graduate of Yale College who served in the New York Legislature and became a Member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.
Francis Lewis was a merchant who became active in politics after serving as a British mercantile agent.
Philip Livingston was a Graduate of Yale College and later became a State Senator in New York,
William Floyd Soldier was a Member of Congress and became a State Senator in New York.
Button Gwinnett became Commander of Georgia's Continental Battalion and President of the Georgia Council of Safety.
George Walton was a self-taught lawyer and went on to become Chief Justice of Georgia, Governor of Georgia, Superior Court Judge, and a U.S. Senator.
Lyman Hall was a Graduate of Yale College and a Physician. He was Elected Governor of Georgia.
Richard Henry Lee was a farmer who went on to become First U.S. Senator for Virginia.
Carter Braxton was also a farmer who became a Member of Virginia Patriot's Committee of Safety.
Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He was the third President of the United States. Jefferson was a writer, fluent in five languages, and one of the greatest Americans of all time.
Thomas Nelson Jr. was a farmer who went on to become Elected Governor of Virginia,
Francis Lightfoot Lee was a farmer and Member of Virginia Senate.
Benjamin Harrison was a farmer who was Elected Governor of Virginia.
George Wythe studied law and became a lawyer and educator. He became Judge of the Chancery Court of Virginia.
Representing North Carolina
William Hooper studied law at Harvard College. He became Judge of the Federal Court.
Joseph Hewes studied at Princeton College and became Defacto First Secretary of the Navy.
John Penn studied to become a lawyer and was a Member of the Board of War.
Representing South Carolina
Edward Rutledge was a graduate of Oxford and went on to become Elected Governor for South Carolina.
Thomas Lynch Jr. graduated from Cambridge University as a Lawyer and became Captain of a South Carolina Regimental Company.
Arthur Middleton was a Graduate of Cambridge. He became a member of the Charleston Council of Safety.
Thomas Heyward Jr. was a lawyer in England and America and went on to become a Judge.
Representing New Jersey
Abraham Clark was a self-taught surveyor, lawyer and Sheriff who became a member of the New Jersey Provincial Congress to the Continental Congress.
Francis Hopkinson was a Graduate of the College of Philadelphia and became a lawyer, Judge, and author. He was appointed Judge to the U.S. Court for the District of Pennsylvania.
John Witherspoon obtained a Master of Arts at University of Edinburgh and a Doctorate of Divinity at University of St. Andrews. He was a clergyman, author and educator. Witherspoon was twice elected to the State Legislature of New Jersey.
John Hart was a farmer who went on to become a lawyer and Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Samuel Huntington was a self-taught lawyer, he eventually went on to become Governor of Connecticut.
William Williams, a Graduate of Harvard, became Judge of the Windham County Courthouse.
Roger Sherman was a cobbler, surveyor, and lawyer. He was elected U.S. Senator for Connecticut.
Oliver Wolcott, a Graduate of Yale and a soldier, Sheriff, and Judge, became Lt. Governor of Connecticut and later Governor of Connecticut.
Charles Carroll attended Jesuits' College at St. Omar, France and a seminary in Rheims. He was elected U.S. Senator from Maryland.
Thomas Stone was a lawyer and landowner.
Samuel Chase was a lawyer who became Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
William Paca studied law at Philadelphia College and became a Federal District Judge for the State of Maryland.
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
Thomas Paine wrote this in The American Crisis in 1776. It still rings true today.
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