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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Fifth of July -- James Clinton Belcher



Two hundred and forty-one years ago, if the history books are to be believed about anything, the original organizers of the government of this country were hard at work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was overcast and the dank, damp air rising from the squalid city streets combined with the heat of summer made John Adams describe the atmosphere as "fetid".  The unanimous vote of the men representing the original thirteen Colonies in favor of The Declaration of Independence had -- despite everything standing against it--- passed.  It was a shock, even to them. 

How had it happened?  Nobody was quite sure.  Everyone had, for one reason or another, bet against it.  The South would never agree to that, and the North would never agree to another bit; Massachusetts would fight to the bitter end and so would South Carolina.  Nobody expected The Declaration to be accepted, and especially not after John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, a Tory and one of the great orators of his day, succeeded in requiring that the vote on The Declaration be unanimous.  

Even its most avid supporters sucked in their breath and gave The Declaration of Independence a wink and a prayer.