This Thursday, we will celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, barbecues, parades and sunshine. Most Americans know this patriotic holiday marks our nation’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but are you familiar with the true story behind the people who gave us our freedom?
Yes, George Washington was the Father of our Country, but the bold decisions made by John Hancock and Samuel Adams gave way to the true beginning of freedom that we, Americans, enjoy today. As an entrepreneur, there is much to be learned about the courage it took for these two men to decide to make a difference. Let us enlighten, and hopefully motivate you with this important tidbit of history—
Our lesson begins just after the Boston Massacre, when Boston’s most prominent colonists arranged the Provincial Assembly with the purpose of taking action against the British and tolerating them no longer. In attendance were Hancock and Adams, who spoke out courageously and vowed to get rid of all British soldiers from Boston. Richard Henry Lee is also an important figure in the series of events that led to our freedom, as he corresponded with Adams frequently, sharing their fears and hopes concerning the welfare of the people. In doing so, Adams thought up the idea of a mutual exchange of letters between the thirteen colonies in order to coordinate efforts. This innovative thinking led to the establishment of the Committee of Correspondence among the colonies.
Spearheaded by Adams, Hancock and Lee, the Committee of Correspondence marks the first organized planning of the discontented colonists. Before the “mastermind” trio of Adams, Hancock and Lee banded together, the individual grievances of the colonists were disorganized and with nothing accomplished. These three men made the decision to lead the troupes in settling their difficulty with the British once and for all, even enduring threats and pressure from the King to stop the opposition.
Again, faced with many decisions to make, the trio risked being hanged for the freedom we enjoy today. Their loyalty and determination far surpassed the threats from the King, and with their heads on the line, the Committee of Correspondence made arrangements for a meeting of the First Continental Congress. Held in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, this date is questionably more important than July 4, 1776. If there had not been leaders such as Adams and Hancock to hold a Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence would not have come to be.
After two years of deliberating, Hancock appointed Thomas Jefferson to draw up a Declaration of Independence. This decision was anything but easy, as every man who signed it knew they would be in great danger of death should the colonies lose the fight with Great Britain, which was sure to follow. On June 28, 1776, the draft was read before the Congress and was finally made ready on July 4, 1776, as Jefferson fearlessly read the most significant decision ever written to the assembly. Afterwards, fifty-six men made the decision to sign the document, putting their lives in jeopardy in order to give us the power to make our own decisions today. The men who played a role in forming our Declaration of Independence made many decisions that required faith and bravery, for the task of becoming free from Britain was a dangerous one.
By speaking out, taking risks, brainstorming collaboratively and making some seriously tough decisions, they made great progress and change for the betterment of the country we live in today.
We hope that you remember this inspiring story during your Fourth of July holiday. We all have the freedom to make decisions and unleash our potential because of these notable men in history who were brave enough to make that a possibility. Let’s celebrate that freedom and exercise it boldly!
What tough decisions have you made that unleashed your potential?