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Some revolutionary truths that aren’t so self-evident

Bernie Boettcher

Once upon a column,

I had a sneaky thought,

I’d pretend to be a teacher,

And hope I wasn’t caught,

I’d declare my independence,

My pursuit of happiness,

And invade a little history,

With a shot of second-guess.

1. What day in 1776 was the Declaration of Independence signed?

A. July 2

B. July 4

C. July 8

D. Aug. 2

The obvious answer is July 4, but that would be wrong. July 4 is the day that Congress voted to approve the Declaration. July 2 is the day Congress voted to approve the resolutions to declare Independence. July 8 is the day that the Declaration was first read publicly. The answer is D, Aug. 2. That was the day that the majority of the 56 signers put their signatures on the official document. (Who else besides Diane Webster at the New Castle Library knew that one?)

2. What is a “Lobster”?

A. A Redcoat

B. A Bloodyback

C. A British soldier

D. An Edible, Stalk-eyed Crustacean

E. All of the above

Our politically incorrect forefathers had many names for the troops of King George III of England. Lobsters, Lobsterbacks, Redcoats, and Bloodybacks were all derogatory terms for British soldiers. When soldiers walked the streets of Boston together, townspeople would shout, “Lobsters. Lobsters for sale!”

The situation exploded on March 5, 1770, when a couple of Lobsters pinched some colonists for being so rude. It became known as the Boston Massacre. Pick E.

3. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

A. Benjamin Franklin

B. John Adams

C. Thomas Jefferson

While Ben Franklin and John Adams made minor changes in the wording of the original draft, it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration. He called it “an expression of the American mind.”

4. Why was John Hancock the first to sign the Declaration?

A. He had the best handwriting.

B. He was the president of the Congress.

C. He was the richest man in Boston.

D. British agents seized his boat, the Liberty, and he wanted to defy their authority.

While all of these answers can be considered facts, being president of the Congress is the primary reason he was first to sign. He joked that he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles!

5. Why didn’t George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence?

A. He was wounded in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

B. He was in the Army.

C. He was in jail for cutting down cherry trees.

D. He was out having his portrait drawn for the dollar bill.

Not only was George in the Army, he was the first general and commander-in-chief of the first Army for the defense of American liberty.

6. After signing the Declaration, who said, “We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately?”

A. Thomas Lynch, Jr. – South Carolina

B. Francis Lightfoot Lee – Virginia

C. Robert Treat Paine – Virginia

D. Benjamin Franklin – Pennsylvania

The 70-year-old penny-saving kite-flyer said that one.

7. Which American president died on the Fourth of July in 1826, 50 years after signing the Declaration?

A. John Adams

B. Thomas Jefferson

C. Both Adams and Jefferson

By a strange coincidence, both men died on the same day.

8. How old was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence?

A. 18

B. 26

C. 33

D. 37

Edward Rutledge was only “twenty-something” when he signed the Declaration.

9. How many signers of the Declaration were born in foreign countries?

A. None

B. 1

C. 2

D. 8

One from Wales, two each from England and Scotland and three from Ireland, for a total of eight.

10. Will you find this paragraph in the Declaration of Independence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Guys and Gals are a little bit unequal, that they are endowed by their Lawyers with certain Questionable Rights, that among these are Life, Leisure, and a guarantee of Happiness; that to get these rights, Governments are established among the wealthy, deriving their unjust Powers from the Consent of the Apathetic; that whenever any Form of Dissent becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the right of the Government to alter or abolish the Dissenters and to institute new taxes that will most likely Protect the Happiness and Safety of the Wealthy Campaign Contributors.”

A. Yes

B. No

The correct answer should be B.

Pursuing Happiness,

– Bernie

Bonus Question: Where is the best place to see fireworks in Garfield County?

Bonus Answer: Since fireworks are banned in Garfield County, the next best place to see bright lights, loud noises and fiery flares is south of Silt at one of the gas well rigs. The Fourth of July shows are scheduled to last all night long!

Bernie Boettcher lives in the Silt area. His column appears every other Thursday.


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