The Declaration of Independence

What is it? More importantly, when?

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The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776 in Philadelphia (by John Trumbull)

"Story Truth"

Written by: Chase Ribordy

The signing of the Declaration of Independence was an important decision that led to the great nation we see today due to the frustration of our founding fathers being directed towards the betterment of society that we all enjoy. The oppression of the British on the American colonists had to stop, so the great American minds came together on the magical day of July 4th, 1776 to declare their independence from the British. The group of American men included the greats such as the famous Benjamin Franklin, the war hero George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson whose writing of the Declaration holds the inner values of American culture. It was here that a strong nation was born! The 13 colonies had come together to become something greater than any nation could have fathomed and remained successful due to the ingenious thoughts of the men in the picture of “The Declaration of Independence “ by John Trumbull. The light used in this piece is directly upon the strong American men of the Second Continental Congress and symbolize the bright future ahead. The picture really brings attention to the amount of attendants to this congress since it shows the unity of the colonies pulling together and showing their strength. The picture tells us all that it was the unity of the colonies gave them strength. And as we know about Plano West, “The strength of the Wolf is in the pack” and this picture is a powerful display of the unity of the Americans fighting for freedom and the beautiful nation that they deserve.

"Happening Truth"

Written by: Rebecca McEnroe

The painting by John Trumbull is of the famous event, the Declaration of Independence. This was a document signed on July 4th 1776 during the second continental congress meeting in Philadelphia. It was a document announcing the thirteen colonies (at that time at war with Great Britain) saying that the colonies were forming a new nation- The United States of America. It was a formal explanation of why the colonies were breaking away. Jefferson composed the original draft. There were fifty six delegates that signed the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock is known for signing the largest saying “I want the king to be able to see it without his spectacles on”. By doing this he was putting himself at major risk for if the colonists did not win the revolution than John Hancock would be loud and clear an enemy and be killed. So was the case for all of the delegates, they were putting their lives at risks but they believed in the declaration enough to do this. When this was written war with Great Britain had been going on for about a year. There was a list of grievances basically saying this is what king George has done wrong. The audience to this was really the world. Most of the writing was vague and did not name specific names really. So this declaration can apply to everyone in the world in the future. Lastly the declaration was used to get recognition. Saying to the world we are breaking off from Great Britain so now the colonists are independent and can trade.

Critique of the Painting

Written by: Alex Iaccarino

Overall, I believe this artwork to be a historically accurate painting. The focus (the POV) for this painting is on the foreground with the gentlemen surrounding what we presume to be the Declaration of Independence. This is where our attention is drawn to. The people in the foreground consist of: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, etc. As we continue to study this painting, it seems to portray a subtle feeling of importance throughout the painting; most of the people’s faces don’t look like they’re goofing around, or crying, or laughing - they all have a serious tone set about their faces.

Identity of the Author

Written by: Morgan Pruitt

John Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut June 6, 1756. John was the son of Jonathan Trumbull the governor of Connecticut at the time. After he graduated from Harvard in 1773, Trumbull became a teacher. Later, he aided for General George Washington during the American Revolution. In 1780 he traveled to London and later imprisoned. When he was released in 1784, he went back home to study with the painter Benjamin West. While working with West, he was influenced by Thomas Jefferson to start painting historical series. For the rest of his life he continued to paint and engrave famous works of historical art. Lastly in 1817 he was commissioned to paint in the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington D.C., here he painted the famous Declaration of Independence. In 1843, John Trumbull died in New York City.

War Story

Written by: All of the aforementioned

The painting “The Declaration of Independence “ by John Trumbull through the lens of Obrien’s War Story shows that this painting is truly a story of love, regret, and memory. The love of the liberty felt by that Americans that they would go to the ends of the world to protect. The delegates from each colony had come together due to the bond of their love for liberty and new identity that they all had a sense of pride for. They worked together to fit their desires to fulfill themselves in this new nation that they had begun. The Congress that had assembled had at first felt regret that they must separate from Britain, but the fact was that they were no longer Englishmen, they were American! They created a document that learned from their memories of the past in order to create a society that all men were created equal. It was this room that established the hope for a new nation, a new start, a new identity, and most importantly, a new sense of liberty. This painting shows the true meaning and explanation of the Fourth of July.