History for the Rest of Us

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Jul 4, 2012

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 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. 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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and...

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

Apr 19, 2012

The phrase ‘The Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ had its roots in the poem ‘Concord Hymn’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired April 19, 1775 during a stand-off between British forces and local militia in Lexington, escalating into engagements at the Old North Bridge in the battles of Lexington and Concord. Emerson’s grandfather was a witness to the events at the Old North Bridge that fateful day. The lyrics to the ‘Concord Hymn’ are as follows: By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone; That memory may their deed redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone. Spirit, that made those spirits dare, To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and...