VIDEO Greatest Revolution In World History – Hidden History

Bill Federer recounts cruel fates, desperate sacrifices of those who signed Declaration

Signing of Declaration of Independence

Signing of Declaration of Independence

Thirty-eight-year-old King George III ruled the largest empire that planet earth had ever seen.

The Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776, listed 27 reasons why Americans declared their independence from the king:

  • He has made judges dependent on his will alone. …
  • He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies. …
  • To subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution. …
  • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us. …
  • For imposing taxes on us without our consent. …
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury. …
  • For … establishing … an arbitrary government. …
  • For … altering fundamentally the forms of our governments. …
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny. …
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Thirty-three-year-old Thomas Jefferson’s original rough draft of the Declaration contained a line condemning slavery: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself … in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither … suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold.”

A few delegates from southern states objected, and since the Declaration needed to pass unanimously and time was running short with the British invading New York, the line condemning slavery was unfortunately omitted.

John Hancock, the 39-year-old president of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration first, reportedly saying “The price on my head has just doubled.”

Next to sign was Secretary, Charles Thomson, age 47.

Seventy-year-old Benjamin Franklin said: “We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”

The Declaration referred to God:

  • “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. …”
  • “All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. …”
  • “Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions. …”
  • “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

This was revolutionary, as kings claimed “The divine right of kings,” namely, that the Creator gives rights to the king, who dispenses them, at his discretion, to his subjects. The Declaration of Independence bypassed the king, declaring that the Creator gives rights directly to “all men.”

Many of the 56 signers sacrificed their prosperity for their posterity. Of the signers:

  • 11 had their homes destroyed
  • 5 were hunted and captured
  • 17 served in the military
  • 9 died during the war

George Walton, age 27, signed, and at the Battle of Savannah was wounded and captured.

Signers Edward Rutledge, age 27, Thomas Heyward Jr., age 30, and Arthur Middleton, age 34, were made prisoners at the Siege of Charleston.

Signer Thomas Nelson, age 38, had his home used as British headquarters during the siege of Yorktown. Nelson reportedly offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house.

Signer Carter Braxton, age 40, lost his fortune during the war.

Signer Thomas McKean, age 42, wrote that he was “hunted like a fox by the enemy, compelled to remove my family five times in three month.”

Richard Stockton, age 46, signed and was dragged from his bed at night and jailed.

Signer Lewis Morris, age 50, had his home taken and used as a barracks.

Signer Abraham Clark, age 50, had two sons tortured and imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey.

More Americans died on British starving ships than died in battle during the Revolution.

Signer Rev. John Witherspoon, age 53, had his son, James, killed in the Battle of Germantown.

Signer Philip Livingston, age 60, lost several properties to British occupation and died before the war ended.

Signer Francis Lewis, age 63, found out that the British plundered his home and carried away his wife, Elizabeth, putting her in prison. The British wanted to make an example of her, so they denied her a change of clothes, a bed, and gave her nothing but the most meager food. She was treated so harshly that she died shortly after being released.

Signer John Hart, age 65, had his home looted and had to remain in hiding, dying before the war ended.

John Adams, age 41, wrote to his wife of the Declaration: “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, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

Gustave de Beaumont, a contemporary of Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in “Marie ou L’Esclavage aux E’tas-Unis,” 1835: “I have seen a meeting of the Senate in Washington open with a prayer, and the anniversary festival of the Declaration of Independence consists, in the United States, of an entirely religious ceremony.”

John Adams continued in his letter to his wife: “You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

When 54-year-old Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

James Wilson, age 34, signed the Declaration. He later signed the Constitution and was appointed to Supreme Court by George Washington. James Wilson stated in 1787: “After a period of 6,000 years since creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance of a nation … assembling voluntarily … and deciding … that system of government under which they and their posterity should live.”

Senator Daniel Webster stated in 1802: “Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

John Jay was president of the Continental Congress, 1778-1779, and later nominated by George Washington to be the first chief justice of Supreme Court. John Jay wrote in 1777: “The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of … choosing the forms of government under which they should live. All other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances. … Your lives, your liberties, your property, will be at the disposal only of your Creator and yourselves.”

Yale President Ezra Stiles, 1788: “All the forms of civil polity have been tried by mankind, except one: and that seems to have been reserved in Providence to be realized in America.”

At the time of the Revolutionary War, nearly every other country on Earth was ruled by a king. Dr. Pat Robertson wrote in “America’s Dates with Destiny,” 1986: “On September 17, 1787, the day our Constitution was signed, the absolute monarch Ch’ien Lung, emperor of the Manchu (or Ch’ing) Dynasty, reigned supreme over the people of China. … Revolts were put down by ruthless military force. In Japan the shogun (warriors) of the corrupt Tokugawa chamberlain Tanuma Okitsugu exercised corrupt and totalitarian authority over the Japanese. In India, Warren Hastings, the British Governor of Bengal, had successfully defeated the influence of the fragmented Mogul dynasties that ruled India since 1600. Catherine II was the enlightened despot of all the Russias. Joseph II was the emperor of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary. For almost half a century, Frederick the Great had ruled Prussia. Louis XVI sat uneasily on his throne in France just years away from revolution, a bloody experiment in democracy, and the new tyranny of Napoleon Bonaparte. A kind of a constitutional government had been created in the Netherlands in 1579 by the Protestant Union of Utrecht, but that constitution was really a loose federation of the northern provinces for a defense against Catholic Spain. … What was happening in America had no real precedent, even as far back as the city-states of Greece. The only real precedent was established thousands of years before by the tribes of Israel in the covenant with God and with each other.”

President Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1903: “In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the people, by the people, for the people, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country.”

President Calvin Coolidge stated in 1924: “The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely … rule of force held in the hands of a few. Under our Constitution, America committed itself to power in the hands of the people.”

A king has “subjects” who are subjected to his will. The word “citizen” is Greek, and it means a co-ruler, a co-regent, a co-king. A republic is where the people are king, ruling through representatives.

America is a republic where the people get to rule themselves. When someone protests the flag, what they are saying, is that they no longer want to be king. They protest this system where they participate in ruling themselves. They want someone else to rule their life.

Ronald Reagan opened the Ashbrook Center, Ashland, Ohio, May 9, 1983: “From their own harsh experience with intrusive, overbearing government, the Founding Fathers made a great breakthrough in political understanding: They understood that it is the excesses of government, the will to power of one man over another, that has been a principle source of injustice and human suffering through the ages. …”

Reagan continued: “The Founding Fathers understood that only by making government the servant, not the master, only by positing sovereignty in the people and not the state can we hope to protect freedom and see the political commonwealth prosper. In 1776 the source of government excess was the crown’s abuse of power and its attempt to suffocate the colonists with its overbearing demands. In our own day, the danger of too much state power has taken a subtler but no less dangerous form.”

John Adams wrote in his notes on “A Dissertation on Canon & Feudal Law,” 1765: “I always consider the settlement of America … as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for … the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”

John Jay noted in 1777: “This glorious revolution … distinguished by so many marks of the Divine favor and interposition … and I may say miraculous, that when future ages shall read its history they will be tempted to consider a great part of it as fabulous. … The many remarkable … events by which our wants have been supplied and our enemies repelled … are such strong and striking proofs of the interposition of Heaven, that our having been hitherto delivered from the threatened bondage of Britain ought, like the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude.”

Franklin Roosevelt stated in 1939: “Rulers … increase their power over the common men. The seamen they sent to find gold found instead the way of escape for the common man from those rulers. … What they found over the Western horizon was not the silk and jewels of Cathay … but mankind’s second chance – a chance to create a new world after he had almost spoiled an old one. … The Almighty seems purposefully to have withheld that second chance until the time when men would most need and appreciate liberty.”

Ronald Reagan stated 1961: “In this country of ours took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the world’s history – every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. … Here for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relation to man. … The founding fathers established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God-given right and ability to determine our own destiny.”

British Edwardian writer G.K. Chesterton stated in “What is America”: “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on creed. That creed is set forth … in the Declaration of Independence … that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice. … It certainly does condemn … atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived.”

Calvin Coolidge stated July 5, 1926: “The principles … which went into the Declaration of Independence … are found in … the sermons … of the early colonial clergy. … They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the Divine image.”

Henry Cabot Lodge, who filled the role of the first Senate Majority Leader, warned the U.S. Senate in 1919: “The United States is the world’s best hope. … Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance … for if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/the-greatest-revolution-in-world-history/

 


America’s Hidden History | Independence Day


Olaudah Equiano’s Argument Against Slavery Was His Life Experience

The Igbo writer wrote honestly about the brutality of his experience—and of the Christian faith that sustained him.
ERIC WASHINGTON

Olaudah Equiano’s Argument Against Slavery Was His Life Experience

The word of God was sweet to my taste, yea sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Christ was revealed to my soul as the chiefest among ten thousand,” wrote an 18th-century British seaman in 1789 as he reflected on his conversion that occurred five years previously. This Christian was a previously enslaved man known as Gustavus Vassa, who, through writing his own life story, became the founder of a literary movement known as slave narratives. His work was published under his birth name: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.

A resident of London during the 1780s, Equiano became involved in British abolitionism and was a vocal opponent of the slave trade and slavery until his death in 1797. His Interesting Narrative served as the foremost abolitionist writing of the day because he was an African voice that described the violence and degradation of the slave trade and of slavery itself. Equiano’s narrative spurred nine English editions through 1794 and was published in Dutch, French, and Russian.

Distinguishing itself from the arguments of abolitionists Thomas Clarkson and John Newton, Equiano’s Christian argument against the slave trade and slavery proved historically unique because he wrote about the horror of slavery, having experienced it firsthand. In his memoir, he drew connections between his traumatic life experiences and meeting God:

Now every leading providential circumstance that happened to me, from the day I was taken from my parents to that hour, was then, in my view, as if it had but just then occurred. I was sensible of the invisible hand of God, which guided and protected me, when in truth I knew it not: still the Lord pursued me.

Life in Igboland

Much of what we know today about Equiano comes through his own words. According to his Interesting Narrative, the author was born in what is now eastern Nigeria, in Igboland, in 1745. (Note: While historians have questioned his account, after reading their arguments and doing my own assessment of the documents, I am inclined to trust the veracity of Equiano’s story.) Unlike accounts of enslaved people that begin in the Western Hemisphere, Equiano introduces his readers to his homeland and people and focuses on the type of government established in his Igbo village, as well as his community’s marriage customs, arts, and agriculture.

According to Equiano, one of the Igbo community’s key beliefs was in a “Creator of all things” who “governs events, especially our deaths and captivity.” It was this Igbo predestinarian conviction among Igbos that likely made it easier for Equiano to accept the Christian doctrine of the Providence of God and is a major theme of the work.

His writings also compare Igbo and ancient Israelite practices, noting Igbo circumcision, and suggest that Igbo and Jewish naming practices are similar because the two cultures name their children in light of an important event or a notable circumstance surrounding one’s birth. In fact, the text goes so far as to argue that Igbos—all Africans in fact—originated from the Jews.

As one of only a handful of 18th-century Afro-British writers, Equiano makes the countercultural argument that Igbos (and Africans) are equal image-bearers to Europeans, and they live in functioning societies complete with a sexual division of labor, a robust system of justice, and a complex religious system. Equiano’s description of his people contains none of the stereotypes that Europeans employed to paint Africans as savages. Further, he refutes the idea that darker skin denoted inferiority, instead, drawing upon European writings that argued that climate produced dark skin. He also turns to the Bible, citing Acts 17:26: “God ‘who hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.’”

The End of Innocence

Equiano was 11 years old when Igbo-speaking slave catchers stole him and his sister away from their home. But he wasn’t immediately shipped off to the British colonies. Instead, he worked as a slave in numerous households in what is now Nigeria before reaching the coast. While enslaved in his homeland, kidnappers kept Equiano separated from his sister. In his memoir, he writes that he grew to the point where he yearned for death. While he did not record any harsh thoughts he had about his African masters and mistresses, Equiano had choice words for African slave catchers and called them “uncircumcised.”

After about half a year, Equiano arrived on the west coast of Africa, where he was sold once more to European slave traders, and then boarded a slave ship bound for the Caribbean. Equiano refers to his treatment by European slave traders in the Middle Passage as “a new refinement in cruelty” and paints a picture of a harrowing journey on board a slave ship.

No other slave narrative offers an account of the ship ride as lengthy or descriptive as Equiano’s; he describes the filthy living conditions he and fellow Africans endured, the suicide of a couple of captives, and other types of cruelties hurled at him and his shipmates. At the end of his account of the Middle Passage, Equiano pauses his narrative and addresses the reader: “Might not an African ask you, learned you this from your God, who says unto you, Do unto all men as you would men should do unto you?”

The slave vessel carried Equiano to Barbados, the eastern-most Caribbean island and an inglorious port of entry for thousands of captive Africans. Equiano remained in Barbados for only two weeks before embarking on another voyage to Virginia. He remained there briefly before he was purchased by Michael Henry Pascal, a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. Under the ownership of Pascal, Equiano traveled to England, was baptized into the Church of England in 1759, and learned that his baptized state afforded him his freedom.

But this legality did little for Equiano. After serving his master for a number of years—even serving in the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War)—Pascal decided to sell Equiano. Upon learning this, Equiano protested, arguing that Pascal had no right to sell him because he had “been baptized; and by the laws of the land no man has a right to sell me.” Unfortunately for Equiano, there was no law; he once more had to swallow the bitter pill of slavery in the Atlantic World. About a century before, British colonies had ruled that baptism had no bearing on the status of an enslaved African. Early in his time as an enslaved boy on a ship, Equiano became obsessed with learning how to read after he saw English people onboard pouring over books. During a stay in London in the late 1750s, Equiano worked for two sisters who sent him to school where he began to learn to read and write.

After living on the confines of Navy vessels in the Atlantic during the Seven Years’ War, Equiano was sold to a Quaker who transported goods and enslaved people throughout the Caribbean and in North America. Equiano initially worked on his owner’s small ship, traveling to different Caribbean ports to sell fruit, tumblers, and other items to Europeans. While Europeans often sought to cheat him out of his money, Equiano nevertheless soon amassed enough money to purchase his freedom in 1766.

Though Equiano gained his freedom in the Caribbean, he was also simultaneously confronted with the reality of the unimaginable violence perpetrated against slaves. As Equiano later recorded in his writings, this was a place where slave women were raped and where one slave was punished by being staked to the ground and having hot wax poured on his back. Although free, Equiano himself was nearly beat to death after visiting a local physician’s slave.

Equiano later recounted a conversation he had with a Mr. Drummond who boasted of selling 41,000 Africans into slavery. Drummond had once cut off a slave’s leg who had attempted to run away. Equiano confronted his action, asking Drummond how he would answer to God, and how did that accord with the Golden Rule. Drummond tersely responded that “answering was a thing for another world,” but his action prevented the slave and others from running away.

God’s Plan for Equiano

In 1773, Equiano returned to London after a harrowing voyage during which he almost died. His near-death drowning experience had turned his mind to his eternal destiny, and he later wrote that the voyage had “caused me to reflect deeply on my eternal state, and to seek the Lord with full purpose of heart ere it was too late.” He also explained that he “was determined to work out” his “own salvation, and in so doing procure a title to heaven.”

Equiano began attending Anglican churches and Quaker meetings, he studied Roman Catholic teachings, and he even considered Judaism. He then consented to just read the four Gospels “and whatever sect or party I found adhering thereto such” he “would join.”

The following year, Equiano attempted to help a formerly enslaved person win back his freedom after the man’s former master illegally re-enslaved him. Despite his efforts and those of other abolitionists, the man was taken back to the West Indies where he died.

Equiano was miserable after this news. He wrote, “Suffering much by villains in the late cause, and being much concerned about the state of my soul, these things … brought me very low; so that I became a burden to myself, and viewed all things around me as emptiness and vanity, which could give no satisfaction to a troubled conscience.”

It in the midst of his depression, Equiano returned to the sea, traveling back to England. During the voyage, he became introspective and began considering the ways in which God had predestined every good and bad step of his life: “I was from early years a predestinarian, I thought whatever fate had determined must ever come to pass.”

Through the cultural worldview he had learned as a child, Equiano found God at work in his life when he been enslaved and when he had been rescued from near-death experiences. He had survived these things to be able to finally receive the grace offered to him by Christ.

Though Equiano desired to return to Africa, he never did. “Whether the love of one’s country be real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an instinct of nature, I still look back with pleasure on the first scenes of my life, though the pleasure has been for the most part mingled with sorrow,” he wrote. Though he admired England and its people and was a committed Christian, he was still an Igbo whom God had chosen. Equiano lent his voice and his pen to the cause of suppressing Britain’s role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In 1797, he died in England, around the age of 52, without seeing the goal come to fruition. Yet the seeds he planted eventually bore fruit when Great Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807.

Eric Michael Washington is an associate professor of history at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His research interests are in African history and the history of Africans in the Atlantic World.

 

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