EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

July 4, 2014

Editorial: Celebrating the birth of our nation

(Continued)

The Massachusetts signers of the Declaration were perhaps better known.

Foremost among these five men and the first to sign was John Hancock, a wealthy businessman who, with Samuel Adams was among the chief fomenters of rebellion in Massachusetts. When Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, centered his large, flamboyant signature on the Declaration, he was alleged to have commented that King George would be able to read it without his spectacles.

Other signers for Massachusetts were the cousins Samuel and the future president John Adams; Elbridge Gerry, the future vice president and inventor of "gerrymandering"; and the jurist Robert Treat Paine.

Take time between the cookouts, the beach and the fireworks to consider how significant the day is. And consider, too, our region's role on this historic occasion.

Consider the document signed by the 56 men and the significance of its text.

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

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