Thomas Jefferson Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. It has also been translated as, "I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."
In 2012, my husband and I took a summer trip to visit Amish country near Lancaster, PA and ended up going on an impromptu visit to Philadelphia. We decided to tour Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I have to say that I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming emotion I felt when I stepped onto the same walkways that our forefathers had trod upon. I started to cry. I thought about all the sacrifices that they made to bring about the Constitution and laws to govern our great nation and I just cried. Yes, people were looking at me funny, but I didn't care. I mean, look at this building. Isn't it beautiful? It's considered the birthplace of America!
Independence Hall is where they adopted the Declaration of Independence. Just in case you don't know what this document is, I'll try to sum it up in a few words.
It began in 1775 when American colonists started battling the British for their rights as subjects of the British crown but soon became a fight for freedom, or independence, from Britain altogether. The Continental Congress (and that has to be another history lesson from someone more knowledgeable than I am), on behalf of the colonist's, drafted a statement of intention that became the Declaration of Independence. The primary writer was Thomas Jefferson and the document was officially adopted in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1776. You can read more about the history of the Declaration of Independence here.
It was also at Independence Hall that the oldest federal constitution in existence was debated, drafted and signed; aka the Constitution of the United States. I didn't even attempt to write a summary of this great document. Here's a brief one from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html,
“The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.”
George Washington presided over this debate but historians say he contributed very little to the discussion, knowing how much his opinion would weigh in the matter.
What a man!
This is the chair he sat in as he presided over the meetings. According to our National Park Service tour guide, it's the only remaining piece of original furniture.
I took many pictures, as you can imagine. The architecture in the building is phenomenal. Check out this staircase and balcony.
Our tour guide was fun and engaging, plus she took time to talk to us individually afterward and answer questions. I highly recommend that if you haven't been already, take time to go and visit this city and soak in some American History.
Have a Happy and Blessed July 4th!!!
Let FREEDOM Ring