Fifty-six chosen men met in Philadelphia, summer 1776, to write a Declaration of Independence to be sent to the King of England. Young Thomas Jefferson, only thirty-three, would be chosen to write the Declaration. Even though the committee chosen by the 2nd Continental Congress to write it was also made up of such leaders as John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Roger Sherman, those men chose Jefferson because of his gift for expression and his knowledge, though so young, of law (as rooted in the Bible).
It was a difficult time for Jefferson: He and his wife had lost a child less than a year before; and his mother had died just three months before. To ask him to write the statement that would establish Americans as an independent nation was daunting to say the least. But considering his recent losses, plus the fact he would have only eighteen days to present it the Committee, was overwhelming. Yet, he responded to the responsibility willingly, having been trained that what Providence gives us to do, He equips us to do.
The immortal words would flow from his quill: “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 to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
You and I have had liberty in America (albeit we have been rapidly losing it for eighty years) because of the men, including Thomas Jefferson, who, “… for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, [pledge] to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”