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.
Photo credit: Richard Loyal French