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"A Nation, without a National Government, is, in my view, an awful spectacle. The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole People, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety.”

- Alexander Hamilton from the conclusion of The Federalist Papers No. 85 which is titled "Concluding Remarks.” 

Essays of The Federalist Papers were written by either Hamilton, Madison or John Jay under the name "Publius.”
No. 85 is one of the essays that Hamilton himself wrote. 

Image: Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1806 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Kitchen in John Adams cottage from a postcard 

The reverse side reads:

John Quincy Adams in a speech delivered in
1843, said: In the year 1775 the minute men from a hundred towns were marching to the scene of war. Many of them called at my father's house at Quincy and received hospitality. They were lodged in the house and barns wherever they could find a place. There were then in my father's kitchen some dozen or two of pewter spoons, and I well recollect going into the kitchen seeing some of the men engaged in running those spoons into bullets for the use of the troops. Do you wonder that a boy of seven years of age who witnessed this scene should be a patriot?"

via Digital Commonwealth Massachusetts- CC BY-NC-ND
Statue of George Washington, carved from one block of wood by Colonel William Rush

Revolutionary War Veteran William Rush of Philadelphia, who carved this statue, is considered to be the first significant American sculptor 

Image via Digital Commonwealth Massachusetts Collections Online, no known restrictions
"The anecdote of Franklin and his father, told by the grandson of Franklin, permits us to infer that Josiah (Ben Franklin’s father) and his children lived on easy terms with one another, and that he did not embitter and cramp their lives with the exactions and terrors of the ancient Puritanism. The boy, we are told, found the long graces used by his father before and after meals very tedious. One day, after the winter's provisions had been salted, " I think, father,” said Benjamin, "if you were to say grace over the whole cask, once for all, it would be a vast saving of time." Franklin, upon the whole, spent a very happy boyhood, and his heart yearned toward Boston as long as he lived. When he was eighty-two years old, he spoke of it as "that beloved place." He said in the same letter that he would dearly like to ramble again over the scene of so many innocent pleasures and as that could not be, he had a singular pleasure in the company and conversation of its inhabitants. 
"The Boston manner," he touchingly added, " the turn of phrase, and even tone of voice and accent in pronunciation, all please and seem to revive and refresh me." 

From: Benjamin Franklin, "doer of good" : a biography by Jared Sparks, published in 1877
Source says not in copyright 

Image of Ben Franklin via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
On January 10th, 1776 Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense was published.

Image of Thomas Paine via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"Civil liberty is only natural liberty, modified and secured by the sanctions of civil society.”

- Alexander Hamilton 

Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11th, 1755 or 1757.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Founding Fathers of The United States: Patrick Henry, John Hancock, George Washington, Samuel Adams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
James Madison was the shortest in stature of all U.S. Presidents in history. He was 5’ 4” tall.

Smaller in stature yes, but he is a big reason why the U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights and essentially the basis of a federal U.S. government exist today.

Image of James Madison via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
James Madison in his early 30s
About 26 years before he became the 4th President of United States 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
A sketch of Founding Fathers of The United States: 

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Paine & Thomas Jefferson

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
An image of Founding Father of The United States John Witherspoon who signed The Declaration of Independence...

“The only clergyman in the Congress, of most impressive manner and acknowledged learning, he received marked attention as he proceeded in a brief speech of great eloquence to give his opinion:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, a nick of time. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument upon your table, which insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this house. He that will not respond to its accents and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions is unworthy the name of free-man. 

“For my own part, of property I have some, of reputation more. That reputation is staked, that property is pledged, on the issue of this contest; and although these gray hairs must soon descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country." 

The declaration was signed and the colonies 
finally and forever committed to independence. Everywhere the people received the news with greatest joy, ringing the bells, firing their guns, and building bonfires. The tension was past and great relief was felt.”

From: John Witherspoon
by David Walker Woods, published in 1906
Source says not in copyright

Image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "John Witherspoon." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 28, 2019.
"Every free-man shou’d promote the publick good”

- A quote by U.S. Founding Father Roger Sherman c. 1753

Sherman died on July 23rd, 1793 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Image: Roger Sherman by Ralph Earl, c. 1775-1776
via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Springhouse at the Birthplace of Founding Father of the United States Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia

Image taken in 1959

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"It is the nature of man to pursue his own interest, in preference to the public good...”

- Founding Father of The United States and signer of The Declaration of Independence, James Wilson
from his Speech in the State House Yard in Philadelphia, 1787

Image: James Wilson, Associate Justice of The Supreme Court of The United States c. 1792 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"In September, 1775, Dr. Bartlett, who had been elected to the continental congress, took his seat in that body. In this new situation, he acted with his accustomed energy, and rendered important services to his country. At this time, congress met at nine in the morning, and continued its session until four o'clock in the afternoon. The state of the country required this incessant application of the members. But anxiety and fatigue they could endure without repining. The lives and fortunes of themselves and families, and fellow citizens, were in jeopardy. Liberty, too, was in jeopardy. Like faithful sentinels, therefore, they sustained with cheerfulness their laborious task ; and, when occasion required, could dispense with the repose of nights. In this unwearied devotion to business. Dr. Bartlett largely participated ; in consequence of which, his health and spirits were for a time considerably affected. 

In a second election, in the early part of the year 1776, Dr. Bartlett was again chosen a delegate to the continental congress. He was present on the memorable occasion of taking the vote on the question of a declaration of independence. On putting the question, it was agreed to begin with the northernmost colony. Dr. Bartlett, therefore, had the honour of being called upon for an expression of his opinion, and of first giving his vote in favour of the resolution. 

On the evacuation of Philadelphia, by the British, in 1778, congress, which had for some time held its sessions at Yorktown, adjourned to meet at the former place, within three days, that is, on the second day of July. The delegates now left Yorktown, and in different companies proceeded to the place of adjournment. Dr. Bartlett, however, was attended only by a single servant. They were under the necessity of passing through a forest of considerable extent ; it was reported to be the lurking place of a band of robbers, by whom several persons had been waylaid, and plundered of their effects. On arriving at an inn, at the entrance of the wood, Dr. Bartlett was informed of the existence of this band of desperadoes, and cautioned against proceeding, until other travellers should arrive. While the doctor lingered for the purpose of refreshing himself and horses, the landlord, to corroborate the statement which he had made, and to heighten still more the apprehension of the travellers, related the following anecdote...

'A paymaster of the army, with a large quantity of paper money, designed for General Washington, had attempted the passage of the wood, a few weeks before. On arriving at the skirts of the wood, he was apprised of his danger, but as it was necessary for him to proceed, he laid aside his military garb, purchased a worn out horse, and a saddle and bridle, and a farmer's saddlebags of corresponding appearance : in the latter, he deposited his money, and with a careless manner proceeded on his way. At some distance from the skirt of the wood, he was met by two of the gang, who demanded his money. Others were skulking at no great distance in the wood, and waiting the issue of the interview. To the demand for money, he replied, that he had a small sum, which they were at liberty to take, if they believed they had a better right to it than himself and family. Taking from his pocket a few small pieces of money, he offered them to them; at the same time, in the style and simplicity of a quaker, he spoke to them of the duties of religion. Deceived by the air of honesty which he assumed, they suffered him to pass, without further molestation, the one observing to the other, that so poor a quaker was not worth the robbing. Without any further interruption, the poor quaker reached the other side of the wood, and at length delivered the contents of his saddlebags to General Washington.’ 

During the relation of this anecdote, several other members of congress arrived, when, having prepared their arms, they proceeded on their journey, and in safety passed over the infested territory.”

From: Lives of the signers to the Declaration of Independence by Charles A. Goodrich, published in 1836
Source says not in copyright 

Image of Founding Father of The United States Josiah Bartlett via Wikimedia Commons, no known restrictions
"In 1766, at the age of 29, he paid a visit to his relatives in England, where he remained about two years. Prior to his departure the trustees of the college of Philadelphia testified their respect for his character and talents, by recording on their minutes a resolution, "that, as Francis Hopkinson, Esq., who was the first scholar in this seminary at its opening, and likewise one of the first who received a degree, is about to embark for England and has done honor to the place of his education by his abilities and good morals, as well as rendered it many substantial services on public occasions, the thanks of this institution ought to be delivered to him in the most affectionate and respectful manner." 

During his stay in England, he was mostly the guest of his great uncle, the Bishop of Worcester, with whom he became a particular favorite, and who held out to him very flattering motives to induce him to remain and fix his permanent abode in the parent country. His attachments to the land of his birth were, however, too strong to be broken and he returned, enriched by much additional information and a more intimate and practical knowledge of the world and of the feelings and dispositions of the leading men of England towards his country, which were of great use to him in the subsequent struggle. 

Soon after his return he married Miss Ann Borden, of Bordentown, Burlington county, in this state, and thereupon removed to New Jersey and was still a resident of Bordentown when the discontents of the people ripened into civil war. He at once espoused the cause of the colonies, although his most powerful friends were arrayed on the other side, and commenced wielding his pen against the preposterous claims of the British government.”

From: Biographical sketches of distinguished Jerseymen by Samuel George Arnold, published in 1845
Source says not in copyright 

Image: Founding Father of The United States Francis Hopkinson 
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Fras. [Francis] Hopkinson." The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Public Domain
"... forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading”

- A letter from Thomas Jefferson in 1816

Image: Thomas Jefferson in 1805 by Rembrandt Peale
Thomas Jefferson writing The Declaration of Independence 

Thomas Jefferson’s mother was named Jane and his father was named Peter.  
Peter Jefferson passed away when Thomas was just a young teen.

During his second year at William and Mary College it was said that Thomas Jefferson often studied fifteen hours a day. 

Image via New York Public Library, no known restrictions
Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 

by J.L.G. Ferris via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Did you know that the first four Presidents of The United States: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison did not have a middle name?

Image: A print from 1812 of the first four Presidents of the United States: Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"Washington and the nation's first the photograph are, from left to right: Secretary of War Henry Knox, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and President Washington.”

via New York Public Library, no known restrictions
" preserve the faith of the nation by an exact discharge of its debts and contracts, expend the public money with the same care and economy we would practice with our own, and impose on our citizens no unnecessary burthens; to keep in all things within the pale of our constitutional powers, and cherish the federal union as the only rock of safety—these, fellow-citizens, are the landmarks by which we are to guide our selves in all our proceedings.”

- Thomas Jefferson from his Second State of The Union Address in 1802 

Image: Thomas Jefferson by John Trumbull in 1788
Portraits of George Washington and John Adams 

Did you know that it was John Adams who recommended George Washington to serve as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1775?

Image via New York Public Library, no known restrictions
"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.”

- John Adams in October 1780 

John Adams, the 2nd President of The United States, was born on October 30th, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Image of John Adams via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
On October 25th, 1764 John Adams and Abigail Smith were wed at the home of Abigail’s family in Massachusetts.

Image of John and Abigail Adams via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Old Billop (now Conference) House, built in 1668, located at Tottenville on Staten Island, N.Y. as it appeared in May, 1931. It was owned by a loyalist family and was occupied by Lord Howe of Great Britain during the Revolutionary War.

In 1776 a brief peace conference was held at the Manor where John Adams, Ben Franklin and Edward Rutledge met with Howe. The discussions proved ineffective and the Revolution continued for several more years.

Image: Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. Retrieved from
Public domain
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On November 14th, 1776 the St. James Chronicle in London, England proclaims that “Dr. Franklyn” (Ben Franklin) the ringleader of the rebellion in America.

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
“You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them that they proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my Countrymen, I own to you, that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion, it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced, that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness.”

- Alexander Hamilton from The Federalist No. 1

On October 27th, 1787 The Federalist Papers were first published.

Essays of The Federalist Papers were written by either Hamilton, Madison or John Jay under the name "Publius.”
"In 1736 I lost one of my Sons, a fine Boy of 4 Years old, by the Small Pox taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly & still regret that I had not given it to him by Inoculation; This I mention for the Sake of Parents, who omit that Operation on the Supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a Child died under it; my Example showing that the Regret may be the same either way, and that therefore the safer should be chosen.“

- Benjamin Franklin from his autobiography 

Image: Francis Folger Franklin, the son of Ben Franklin who died of Smallpox in November 1736
Did you know that in the 1780s Benjamin Franklin was elected President of The Pennsylvania Abolition Society in Philadelphia?
"The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.”

- Samuel Adams, who was born on September 27th, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Image of Samuel Adams via New York Public Library, no known restrictions.
A painting of a young woman who is believed to be Abiah Folger Franklin who was the mother of Benjamin Franklin 

c. 1707

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Who were these six men?

They are the only Americans to sign both The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution.

From left to right:
Roger Sherman, George Clymer, George Read, James Wilson, Robert Morris and Benjamin Franklin
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months.”

- Thomas Paine 

Image: Thomas Paine via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
American Revolutionary War Veteran, POW and Signer of The Declaration of Independence Arthur Middleton of South Carolina 

Image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Arthur Middleton" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed August 27, 2020.
No known restrictions
Drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Committee - Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Livingston and Sherman.

Did you know that Robert Livingston administered the Oath of office of the President of The United States to George Washington when he became our first President? 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
“I believe there is one Supreme most perfect being. -  I believe He is pleased and delights in the happiness of those He has created; and since without virtue man can have no happiness in this world, I firmly believe He delights to see me virtuous”

- Benjamin Franklin in 1728

Image of Benjamin Franklin via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

From The American Crisis by Thomas Paine who was born on today's date February 9th, 1737.

Image: Thomas Paine by James Watson, after Charles Willson Peale mezzotint, 1783 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Graff or "Declaration House” where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia which still stands today 

Sketch via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Benjamin Franklin, the firefighter 

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"The time has found us.”

- Thomas Paine 

Image: Thomas Paine c. 1806-1807 by John Wesley Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Did you know that James Madison was the oldest of 12 children and is the U.S. President who had the most siblings?

Image: Maquette of statue of James Madison- James Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
No known restrictions
"The Declaration of Independence was read publicly in all the states, and was welcomed with many demonstrations of joy. The people were encouraged by it to bear up under the calamities of war, and viewed the evils they suffered, only as the thorn that ever accompanies the rose. 
The army received it with particular satisfaction. As far as it had validity, so far it secured them from suffering as rebels, and held out to their view an object, the attainment of which would be an adequate recompense for the toils and dangers of war. They were animated by the 1776 confederation that they were no longer to risk their  lives for the trifling purpose of procuring a repeal of a few oppressive acts of parliament, but for a new organization of government, that would forever put it out of the power of Great-Britain to oppress them. The flattering prospects of an extensive commerce, freed from British restrictions, and the honours and emoluments of office in independent state’s now began to glitter before the eyes of the colonists, and reconciled them to the difficulties of their situation. What was supposed in Great-Britain to be their primary object, had only a secondary influence. While they were charged with aiming at independence from the impulse of avarice and ambition, they were ardently wishing for a reconciliation. But, after they had been compelled to adopt that measure, these powerful principles of human actions opposed its retraction, and stimulated to its support. That reparation which the colonists at first dreaded as an evil, they soon gloried in as a national blessing. While the rulers of Great-Britain urged their people to a vigorous prosecution of the American war, on the idea that the colonies were aiming at independence, they imposed on them a necessity of adopting that very measure, and actually effected its accomplishment. By repeatedly charging the Americans with aiming at the erection of a new government, and by proceeding on that idea to subdue them, predictions which were originally false, eventually became true. When the declaration of independence reached Great-Britain the partisans of ministry triumphed in their sagacity. "The measure, said they, we have long fore-seen, is now come to pass." They inverted the natural order of things. Without reflecting that their own policy had forced a revolution contrary to the original design of the colonies, the declaration of independence was held out to the people of Great-Britain as a justification of those previous violences, which were its efficient cause. 

The act of Congress for delivering the colonies from their Parent State, was the subject of many animadversions.”

From: The history of the American Revolution
by David Ramsay, published in 1789
Source says not in copyright 

Image: First reading of the Declaration of Independence in New York via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
God grant, that not only the Love of Liberty, but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man, may pervade all the Nations of the Earth, so that a Philosopher may set his Foot anywhere on its Surface, and say, 'This is my Country.'

- Benjamin Franklin in 1789
“In the fall of 1804 Mr. Jefferson was elected president for a second term, but this time Colonel Burr was dropped by his party, who nominated and elected George Clinton, of New York, vice-president in his place. Burr had at last experienced the reward of his insincerity: both parties had come to distrust him. After his defeat for the vice presidency he had been nominated by his party as their candidate for governor of New York. He was warmly opposed by Alexander Hamilton, who was mainly instrumental in bringing about his defeat. Burr never forgave Hamilton for his course in this election, and took advantage of the first opportunity to challenge him to a duel. 

They met at Weehawken, on the banks of the Hudson, opposite New York, on the eleventh of July, 1804. 

Hamilton, who had accepted the challenge in opposition to his better judgment, and who had expressed his intention not to fire at Burr, was mortally wounded, and died within twenty-four hours. In him perished one of the brightest intellects and most earnest patriots of the republic. His loss was regarded as second only to that of Washington, and the sad news of his death was received in all parts of the country with profound and unaffected sorrow. A feeling of deep and general indignation was aroused against Burr, who found it expedient to withdraw from New York and retire to Georgia until the excitement had subsided. 

The murder of Hamilton, for it was nothing else, closed Burr's political career. His remaining years were passed in restless intrigue. In 1805 he went west, and there undertook the organization of a military movement of some sort, which from the secrecy with which it was conducted, was generally regarded as treasonable and intended for his own aggrandizement. In 1806 he was arrested by the United States, and after a prolonged trial, during which he defended himself with great ability, he was acquitted of the charge of treason. His subsequent career was obscure, and he died in 1836, friendless and alone. He was a man of great ability; but he failed to put his great talents to an honest use.“

From: Our greater country; being a standard history of the United States from the discovery of the American continent to the present time ..
by Henry Davenport Northrop, published in 1901
Source says not in copyright
Thomas Jefferson 

- 1804

by Charles B. J. Févret de Saint-Mémin via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton was born on August 9th, 1757 in Albany, New York.

"He made his will, leaving all, after the payment of his debts, to his "dear and excellent wife." 
"Should it happen that there is not enough for the 
payment of my debts, I entreat my dear children, 
if they, or any of them, should ever be able, to 
make up the deficiency. I, without hesitation, commit to their delicacy a wish which is dictated by my own. Though conscious that I have too far sacrificed the interests of my family to public avocations, and on this account have the less claim to burden my children, yet I trust in their magnanimity to appreciate as they ought this my request. In so unfavorable an event of things, the support of their dear mother, with the most respectful and tender attention, is a duty, all the sacredness of which they will feel. Probably her own patrimonial resources will preserve her from 
indigence. But in all situations they are charged 
to bear in mind that she has been to them the most devoted and best of mothers." And then, the great statesman, after writing two farewell letters to ''my darling, darling wife,"conformed to public prejudice" by hastening with his second, at daybreak, to meet Aaron Burr, at Weehawken, two miles and a half above Hoboken. It was a quiet and beautiful spot, one hundred and fifty feet above the level of the Hudson River, shut in by trees and vines, but golden with sunlight on that fatal morning. 

At seven o'clock the two distinguished men were ready, ten paces apart, to take into their own hands that most sacred of all things, human life. There was no outward sign of emotion, though the one must have thought of his idol, Theodosia, and the other of his pretty children, still asleep. Hamilton had determined not to fire, and so permitted himself to be sacrificed. The word of readiness was given. Burr raised his pistol and fired, and Hamilton fell headlong on his face, his own weapon discharging in the air. He sank into the arms of his physician, saying faintly, "This is a mortal wound," and was borne home to a family overwhelmed with sorrow. The oldest daughter lost her reason. 

For thirty-one hours he lay in agony, talking, when able, with his minister about the coming future, asking that the sacrament be administered, and saying, " I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy ; pray for me." 

Once when all his children were gathered around the bed, he gave them one tender look, and closed his eyes till they had left the room. He retained his usual composure to the last, saying to his wife, frenzied with grief, "Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian." He died at two o'clock on the afternoon of July 12, 1804. The whole nation seemed speechless with sorrow. In New York all business was suspended. At the funeral, a great concourse of people, college societies, political associations, and military companies, joined in the common sorrow. Guns were fired from the British and French ships in the harbor; on a platform in front of Trinity Church, Governor Morris pronounced a eulogy. General Hamilton's four sons, the eldest sixteen and the youngest four, standing beside the speaker. Thus the great life faded from sight in its vigorous manhood, leaving a wonderful record for the aspiring and the patriotic, and a prophecy of what might have been accomplished but for that one fatal mistake.”

From: Famous American Statesmen by Sarah Bolton, published in 1888
Source says not in copyright 

Image: Elizabeth Hamilton portrait c. 1795 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
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Choose from 
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On today’s date January 23rd, 1737 (New Style date) John Hancock was born in Braintree (present day Quincy), Massachusetts.

“In February, 1776, Hancock, though still president of the Continental Congress, was appointed by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts one of the Major Generals of militia of that colony. 

The signing of the Declaration of Independence is an old story known to every schoolboy; but John Hancock is so closely associated with that event that to avoid a brief mention of it would be to slight the most important part of his biography. 

The average reader knows but little of this great man, save that he was first to sign the declaration, and his is the most striking and beautiful chirography of all those brave men who appended their names to the immortal document. 

Hancock occupying the chair of president heard the great speeches for and against the measure, while his soul thrilled with the enthusiasm of freedom. His anxiety had reached its utmost bounds, when on the Fourth of July, 1776, the thirteen colonies by a unanimous vote declared themselves Free and Independent States.

While old Liberty Bell was ringing out the glad tidings, and the assembled thousands about the State House were shouting themselves hoarse with joy, John Hancock, remembering that he had been proscribed, dipped his pen in the ink, and affixing that immortal signature to the document which made his country free...”

From: John Hancock by John R. Musick, published in 1903

Image: John Hancock by Jeremiah Meyer, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
"He saw that a crisis was at hand, when statesmanship of the highest order would be needed in the popular representative assemblies, and wise and judicious men were wanted as popular leaders of the people. 

Without possessing the fiery eloquence of an Otis or Patrick Henry, or the deep statesman-like oratory of an Adams, Hancock was a fluent and scholarly speaker, with a manner and address that was pleasing and popular. Those who heard the smooth sentences rolling from his tongue were spell-bound, convicted and convinced by his earnest, impressive manner. But it was in deliberative assemblies that his power was most felt. In all the deliberations of the patriot leaders during that stormy period, the counsel of Hancock had great weight. He was bold but cautious, courteous but firm as a mountain, when an invasion of the rights of the poorest of the common people were at stake.“

From: John Hancock by John R. Musick, published in 1903
Source says no known restrictions
"The Master piece of Man, is to live to the purpose.”

- Benjamin Franklin in 1737

From his Poor Richard’s Almanack

Image via NYPL, no known restrictions
A painting at the U.S. Capitol of George Washington meeting with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton by the artist Constantino Brumidi

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston and Benjamin Franklin presenting their draft of The Declaration of Independence to Continental Congress 

Mural by Barry Faulkner, 1936 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
In February 1789 William Short sends correspondence to Thomas Jefferson (then U.S. Minister to France) that he was able to successfully secure a mold while in Italy for making macaroni pasta.

Portrait of William Short c. 1806 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”

- From "Liberty Song” by Founding Father of The United States John Dickinson who was the 5th President (Governor) of Pennsylvania.

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"Americans are the first people whom heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing forms of government under which they should live.”

- John Jay 

On October 19th, 1789 John Jay became the 1st Chief Justice of The United States.

Image of John Jay via NYPL Digital Collections, public domain
Henry Laurens, the only American to be held as a prisoner in the Tower of London 

You can see the Tower in the background of this portrait painting.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
🇺🇸"365 Reasons To Cherish America!"🇺🇸

Day/Reason #17: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Experiment

Photo from Natural Philosophy for Common and High Schools published in 1881 by Cooley Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons
"My father, Josias, married early in life. He went 
with his wife and three children, to New England about the year 1682, conventicles being at that time prohibited by law, and frequently disturbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them. 

My father had also by the same wife four children born in America, and ten others by a second wife, making in all seventeen. I remember to have seen thirteen seated together at his table, who all arrived to years of maturity, and were married. I was the last of the sons, and the youngest child, excepting two daughters. I was born at Boston in New England. My mother the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of New England, of whom Cotton Mather makes honourable mention, in his Ecclesiastical History of that province, as a “pious and learned Englishman" 

From: The works of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin : consisting of his life
source says no known restrictions 

Image of Benjamin Franklin via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"Looking forward with anxiety to future destinies, I trust that in their steady character, unshaken by difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedience to law, and support of the public authorities, I see a sure guaranty of the permanence of our Republic”

- Thomas Jefferson from his Eighth State of The Union Address in 1808

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"The original propositions of Mr. Paterson, and of Mr. Charles Pinckney (of which latter no authentic copy remains) were referred to the same committee. Their commission imposed on them the most important and laborious duty of translating these principles into detailed measures suitable for a constitution; and the Convention suspended its sessions until August 6th to leave the committee free for that work, which was to develop the vital germ of the republic. 

In the report of this committee, made on the 6th of August, the Constitution opened with the recital, "We, the people of the States of New Hampshire," etc., naming each of the thirteen States, "do ordain, declare, and establish the following Constitution for the government of ourselves and our posterity." The Committee of Revision afterwards struck out the names of all the States and established the clause, "We, the people of the United States, do ordain," etc. The name given to the government was "The United States of America." The two legislative branches were now called the House of Representatives and the Senate, and together were styled a "Congress." 
Each House was to choose its own presiding officer. Power was given to Congress to establish uniform qualifications of its members in regard to property. The representatives and senators were disqualified from holding any office under the United States during the time for which they shall respectively be elected, and senators also for one year afterwards. Their compensation was to be paid by the State in which they were chosen. The first House alone had the power of impeachment; the trial body to be the Supreme Court. 

The enumeration of legislative powers was very short, and on some of these limitations were imposed. No navigation act could be passed without the assent of two-thirds of the members present in each house. No tax or duty could be laid on exports nor on the migration or importation of such persons as any State should permit to enter. 

To the Senate was given the power to make treaties, and to appoint ambassadors and judges of the Supreme Court.”

From: History of the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution of the United States by Hampton L. Carson, published in 1889.
Source says not in copyright 

Image: "The Convention at Philadelphia, 1787,” Engraving, by Frederick Juengling and Alfred Kappes via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
A print of the youngest signer of The U.S. Constitution, Jonathan Dayton.

The city of Dayton, Ohio is named after him. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"Hail Columbia! child of science, parent of useful arts; dear country, hail! Be it thine to meliorate the condition of man. Too many thrones have been reared by arms, cemented by blood, and reduced again to dust by the sanguinary conflict of arms. Let mankind enjoy at last the consolatory spectacle of thy throne, built by industry on the basis of peace and sheltered under the wings of justice. May it be secured by a pious obedience to that divine will, which prescribes the moral orbit of empire with the same precision that his wisdom and power have displayed, in whirling millions of planets round millions of suns through the vastness of infinite space.”

- Founding Father of The United States Gouverneur Morris in his discourse to the New York Historical Society in 1816. 
Morris signed the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
“John Hancock's defiance: July 4th, 1776”

by Currier and Ives, c. 1876
via Library of Congress, no known restrictions
1st U.S. Congress convened for their first session on March 4th, 1789 in New York City.

Image: Engraving of Federal Hall in New York City via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"Under such circumstances the active and patriotic 
mind of Hamilton soon reverted to the elaboration 
of such financial schemes, as he supposed would relieve the distress of the country, and furnish new 
munitions of war to the patriots. He addressed a 
letter to Robert Morris, a distinguished member of 
Congress from Pennsylvania, disclosing a plan for 
increasing the pecuniary resources of the colonies. 
The letter was anonymous ; and the writer assigned as a reason why he chose that method of communication rather than through the public press, that the discussion of the subject involved allusions to the weakness and poverty of the country, the exposure of which would be exceedingly prejudicial to the cause of liberty. The writer then proceeds to discuss the plan proposed, the nature of the existing currency, the amount of taxes, of domestic and foreign trade, of the depreciation of the currency, and of its consequence, a want of confidence in the community. He states that the expedient of a foreign loan was a good one; but that this was liable to great objections, and that he had another remedy to propose which was still more efficient, and free from all objection. This plan was the establishment of an American Bank, to be chartered by Congress for the period of ten years, and to be termed the Bank of the United States. The basis of this institution was to be a foreign loan of two millions of pounds, to be used in the bank as a portion of its stock; a subscription to be opened for stock to the amount of two hundred millions of dollars more, the payments to be guaranteed by the government on the dissolution of the bank by ten millions of specie, or by a bonafide equivalent currency. The bank notes were to be made payable to the bearer in three months, at ten per cent. An annual loan of ten millions of pounds was to be furnished to Congress by the bank at four per cent. The letter contained other items, more fully explaining the ideas of the writer, he sketched the details Which would be necessary to give efficiency to the operation of the institution. He proposed the appointment of a Minister of Finance. He suggested that Congress should establish the bank, set it in operation, and superintend its progress. He closed by asserting that Mr. Robert Morris was in his judgment the most suitable person in the nation to be placed at the head of such an institution. 

This production, when its authorship became 
known, won for Hamilton the not undeserved title 
of the ''Founder of the Public Credit of the United 
States." It exhibited the superior powers of his 
capacious and many-sided intellect in a new department. Able as a political writer on great national issues, able as a soldier, bold, prudent, eloquent as he had already proved himself to be, in every position in which he had been placed, he now established a high reputation as a financier. His clear and sagacious views attracted and deserved the more attention, because at that time the science of finance was but little known in the colonies. His intellectual vigor enabled him to rise triumphantly above the prevalent prejudices and contracted ideas of that day, and to lay open to view new and unappropriated fields for the advancement of the national credit and wealth ; and with the attainment of this result, to furnish the necessary material aid to carry on the great struggle for liberty which then engaged and exhausted the nation.”

From: The life and times of Alexander Hamilton by Samuel M. Smucker, published in 1857
Source says not in copyright 

Image Alexander Hamilton via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do, and with them every thing. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary expenses excepted), will certainly become rich—if that Being who governs the world, to whom all should look for a blessing on their honest endeavours, doth not, in his wise providence, otherwise determine”

- Works of the late Doctor Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a young Tradesman, written in 1748
Benjamin Franklin was the only person to sign all four of the following significant documents that established the United States in the late 18th Century: The Declaration of Independence, The Treaty of Alliance with France, The Treaty of Paris with Great Britain and The United States Constitution.
"The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attack.”

- Samuel Adams 

Image: Samuel Adams by Alonzo Chappel via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Thomas Jefferson holding the Declaration of Independence in front of a bust of Benjamin Franklin

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence over a period of 17 days?

Image via Library of Congress, no known restrictions
"Negotiated and signed in Paris, it fixed the destinies of America. It was received by our countrymen with thanksgivings and rejoicings, of which we were strikingly reminded yesterday, when the vast population of this metropolis, swelled by thousands of citizens and citizen- soldiers, by the President and the Cabinet from Washington, and by the Governors and representatives of the old thirteen States, joined in commemorating the final departure of the British flag ; on the day when, as the silver-toned orator  (The Honorable George William Curtis) at the unveiling of the statue of Washington on the spot where he was inaugurated so picturesquely described, Colonial and Provincial America had ended and National America had begun.” 

From: The peace negotiations of 1782 and 1783. An address delivered before the New York Historical Society on its seventy-ninth anniversary
Source says not in copyright 

Image: Signing the Preliminary Treaty of Peace at Paris, November 30, 1782.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

- James Madison in 1788

Founding Father of The United States James Madison was born on March 16th, 1751 in Port Conway, Virginia.
On today's date March 23rd, 1775: Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech in Richmond, Virginia.

Were you aware that Henry's well-known discourse was first published eighteen years after his death? The text appeared in William Wirt's "Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry" which you can read here:

Listen to a narration of Patrick Henry's speech here:

Photo: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution. By Currier & Ives 1876( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Signer of The United States Constitution Rufus King was born on March 24th, 1755 in Scarborough, Massachusetts.

During the American Revolution, Rufus in his early twenties, wrote letters to his brother-in-law and one included the following:

"But America spurns the production of the petty tyrant, and treating it with deserved contempt, 
stands firm upon the pillars of liberty, immoveable as Heaven and determined as fate. One kindred spirit catches from man to man. . . . The Continental Congress are unanimous and determined. They have voted to raise 70,000 men and three millions of money." 

From: The life and correspondence of Rufus King; comprising his letters, private and official, his public documents, and his speeches
Source says not in copyright 

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
“In August, 1781, Mrs. Mary Darnell, the mother of the wife of Charles Carroll of Carrollton died at Doughoregon Manor. This was the first sorrow that had come into the life of this active and earnest man. He writes that “Rev. John Carroll came up to conduct the funeral and that the event cast a cloud over them all especially Mrs. Carroll." 

In 1780 Eliza, the youngest of the seven children, 
was born, who only lived three years. The other children were Elizabeth, Mary, Louise, Rachel, Charles, Ann Brock and Catherine. Charles (Jr.) was born in 1775. 

The death of Mrs. Darnell was soon followed by 
other sorrows in the life of this busy man. In less 
than a year his father had died and also his wife and both were laid with Mrs. Darnell under the chapel. Thus was he left to pass fifty years of widowerhood. 

In a letter written July 9th he says “I have had the 
misfortune to lose my father and wife within a year 
of each other. My father died, the 30th of May, suddenly, and my wife on the 10th ultimo after a short but very painful illness.”

Mr. Carroll, senior, fell from the porch of the house 
and the shock and injuries caused his death and probably hastened the end of Mrs. Carroll, his daughter-in-law. 

But Charles Carroll, senior, who had educated his 
son with such care and faithfulness and had centered so many hopes in his future, remained to see that son become the most useful, most highly honored and most fully trusted man of Maryland and hardly second to any in America. There are few instances of such ambition and such hopes being so fully gratified.”

From: Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton
by Lewis Alexander Leonard, published in 1918
Source says not in copyright

Image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Charles Carroll." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 16, 2019.
To chip or not to chip...

Did you know?
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson & John Adams toured sites in England and made a stop at Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-upon-Avon. 

It’s believed that during their visit they shaved a piece of wood from Shakespeare’s chair to keep as a souvenir. This practice was considered customary at the time.

Jefferson wrote: “A chip cut from an armed chair in the chimney corner in Shakespeare’s house at Stratford on Avon said to be the identical chair in which he usually sat. If true like the relics of the saints it must miraculously reproduce itself.”

Image: Shakespeare home, Stratford on Avon, England
From NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
Engraving of James Monroe who was the *last Founding Father to serve as President of The United States.

Monroe died on the 4th of July in 1831 

*Monroe’s predecessor, 4th President of The U.S. James Madison lived until 1836 and he was the last living Founding Father.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Before the American Revolution Benjamin Franklin received honorary degrees from two of Britain’s most prestigious academic institutions: Oxford and The University of St. Andrews 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Signer of The Declaration of Independence, Governor of Georgia and Medical Doctor Lyman Hall was born on April 12th, 1724 in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
An illustration of James Monroe and Robert Livingston signing the Louisiana Purchase on behalf of the United States on April 30th, 1803 in Paris, France. 

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
Peyton Randolph was the first President of Continental Congress when 2nd Continental Congress convened on May 10th, 1775.

Image of Peyton Randolph via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

Article IV Section II of the U.S. Constitution
Drafting The Declaration of Independence 

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.”

- Patrick Henry
"Resolved That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the british crown and that all political connection between them and the state of great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”

On June 7th, 1776 Richard Henry Lee offered his resolution to Continental Congress
A portrait painting of John Penn who signed The Declaration of Independence 

He was born in Caroline County, Virginia on May 17th, 1741
"touch of the heroic, the touch of the purple, the touch of the gallant, the dashing, the picturesque.”

- Theodore Roosevelt on Alexander Hamilton 

Image of Alexander Hamilton via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
Foundation of the American Government by American artist Henry Hintermeister

Gouverneur Morris signing the U.S. Constitution in front of George Washington seated at desk 

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
How were Samuel Adams and John Adams related?

They were second cousins.
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Member of Continental Congress and Founding Father of The United States Stephen Crane was bayoneted by Hessian mercenaries during the American Revolutionary War in New Jersey. 

He died from his injuries in July of 1780.

His great great grandson was writer Stephen Crane who wrote The Red Badge of Courage 

Image via NYPL Digital Collections, no known restrictions
"In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will.”

- Alexander Hamilton 

Image from Litererian1912 via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA 4.0
Independence Hall

- 1904

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson kneeling at prayer 
Bronze statue at Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 

Image by Rosemarie Mosteller via Shutterstock
"Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind.”

- Thomas Jefferson from his First Inaugural Address in 1801
“Patriots of 1774, 1775, 1776 heroes of 1778, 1779, 1780, come forward! Your country demands your services. Philosophers and friends to mankind come forward! Your country demands your studies and speculations. Lovers of peace and order, who declined taking part in the late war, come forward! Your country forgives your timidity and demands your influence and advice. Hear her proclaiming, in sighs and groans, in her governments, in her finances, in her trade, in her manufactures, in her morals and in her manners, ‘The Revolution is 
not over.'”

- Founding Father of the United States Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1787
On September 5th, 1774 the first Continental Congress met at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia.

Image of Carpenters’ Hall from a postcard dated 1905 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Sign of the Hancock Tavern in Boston from a book titled Little Pilgrimages Among Old New England Inns published in 1907

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people…”

- John Adams 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain