Freedom Week Information
By: Kent Rogers and Marcelo Rodriguez
Table of Contents
- Declaration of Independence- US Constitution (Bill of Rights)- Emancipation Proclomation- American Revolution
Signing of the Declaration of Independence
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. A total of 56 men signed this document including: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock.
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is a part of the US Constitution. It states the legal rights of every US citizen: 1 - Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. 2 - Right to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a well regulated militia. 3 - No quartering of soldiers. 4 - Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. 5 - Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy. 6 - Rights of accused persons, e.g., right to a speedy and public trial. 7 - Right of trial by jury in civil cases. 8 - Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments. 9 - Other rights of the people. 10 - Powers reserved to the states.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, as the country entered the third year of the Civil War. It declared that "all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free"—but it applied only to states designated as being in rebellion, not to the slave-holding border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri or to areas of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control. The careful planning of this document, with Lincoln releasing it at just the right moment in the war, ensured that it had a great positive impact on the Union efforts and redefined the purpose of the war. The Emancipation Proclamation continues to be a symbol of equality and social justice.
Washington Crossing the Delaware
The American Revolution, also known as the Revolutionary War, began in 1775. British soldiers and American patriots started the war with battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Colonists in America wanted independence from England. The British government attempted to pass some laws, enforce several taxes, and increase more control over the colonies. The colonies strongly objected to these laws and taxes. They wanted England to have no control over them. For ten years before the war actually started, there was a lot of tension between England and the colonies. The colonies had no central government at the beginning of the war, so delegates from all the colonies were sent to form the first Continental Congress. George Washington, a former military officer and wealthy Virginian, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.Members of the Continental Congress wrote a letter to King George of England outlining their complaints and declaring their independence from England. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the colonies declared their independence from England. The war ended in 1783, and the United States of America was born.