Benjamin Franklin Diplomat

John Hancock the President of Congress, called Benjamin Franklin aside after The Declaration of Independence had been signed.

Hancock told Franklin in their meeting: “We have an important assignment for you.”

Franklin responded: “I am too old to be a soldier.”

John Hancock corrected him, saying: “No, no, we want you to be our new Minister to France.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” quipped Franklin, “A soldier has to die for his country, but a diplomat only has to lie for his country.” read more

Thomas Jefferson and the Crime Commission

After reviewing some things I have in common with John Adams, I had to remember why I started studying the Founding Fathers anyway. As a young lawyer I was appointed by the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, to be a member of his “Citizens Crime Commission,” a group of volunteers who met monthly and discussed methods the Mayor could use to alleviate crime in the City.

In those days, every major city in America had such a commission. There was a National Citizens Crime Commission. It was 1976, the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The National Commission was holding its national convention in Philadelphia that year. I was elected to represent the Arizona Crime Commission at the national convention. What an honor. read more

Our Founding Fathers Were Not Bashful

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen things were getting rough in the Colonies, there were a few men who stood up for things they believed in. It started with Patrick Henry in his speech as he was first elected to the house of Burgesses. Thomas Jefferson, his friend, listened in at the door of the Capitol in Williamsburg, as Henry made his speech, from notes written in the flyleaf of Jefferson’s loaned book!

Tom said that a spark for independence was lighted at that event that moved Jefferson to know the Colonies were on the road to independence. read more

The Original Patriots

Today, some of us football fans especially, think of the Patriots as the New England Patriots football team. You know, they’ve been in the Super Bowl four times in the last few years, and are an amazing fun team to watch play football. I myself am a football fan, and a Patriot fan as well.

Founding Fathers coverHowever, the original Patriots didn’t play football. Football hadn’t even been invented yet. Those original Patriots played for keeps and they created a new nation. The first one ever to be of the people, by the people and for the people. read more

Founding Fathers and Leadership

Speaking-2My wife has been asking me what I want to do now that I’m retired. The other night I woke up at about 2 or 2:30 with a thought on my mind. It seemed important to me at that time in my groggy condition. So what did I do? I got out of bed, went into my office, found a scrap of paper and a pencil and wrote down my thought.

Then, the next day, I couldn’t find the paper on which I had written my thought. Yes, in between I guess I had cleaned off my desk. But that night, I had that same thought again. This time I wrote in down on the white board in my study. That would get misplaced! read more

Declaration of Independence — July 2?

ONE MORE THOUGHT ON THE DECLARATION

The resolution that the American colonies should break from Great Britain and become free and independent states was proposed by Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, in the Continental Congress, and was unanimously adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776.

The adoption of this resolution on that date caused John Adams to write home to Abigail. He thought that date, July 2, would become the great day of American celebration for independence. He wrote to her:

“Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated the America, and a  greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among Men . . . .The Second Day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha [sic], in the history of America.– I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews [sic], Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”  (His capitalization retained.) read more

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

On April 18, 1775, the British General Gage decided to send 700 British soldiers to march on April 19, to Concord, Massachussets, to capture two prominent rebels: John Hancock and John Adams, who were hiding in that area. He was also determined to capture the munitions and guns that were then assembling in Lexington.

Joseph Warren, an American Patriot, heard of these plans and so he alerted two speedy couriers to watch for his signal and ride to warn and alert the Minutemen in those towns. The riders were Paul Revere and William Dawes. They were joined by Dr. Prescott. Revere was arrested, his horse confiscated, and he was released. So he actually got to Concord too late. But Dr. Prescott gave the warning that “the British are coming!” read more

Was John Hancock a Smuggler?

We celebrate Independence Day in America on July 4. And rightly so, since that is the day that the official document creating our Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, in effect making America a new nation. Independent from Great Britain, and all other nations on the earth.

While we remember this day with celebrations and festivities, did you know that only 2 members of that Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on that date? It’s true. Only the President of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, and the secretary signed their names on July 4, 1776. Then the formal document was sent out to be “engrossed”, or printed by hand in beautiful clear graphic letters by a professional in that business. read more