by Michael Sabo / July 01, 2016 The Heritage Foundation
When reading the Declaration of Independence, it is easy to focus only on the sweeping language of the second paragraph and skip over the names and mutual pledge of the signers at its conclusion.
Though the principles enunciated in its opening paragraphs, such as the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, provide the moral and philosophical foundation on which the American regime rests, it is important to acknowledge that declaring principles alone secures nothing.
Principles need to be enforced by individuals who have the habits of character necessary to fight for them, and perhaps even die for them, if need be. In a time where talk of rights dominates our political discourse, a focus on duties is indispensable in order to teach citizens the responsibilities they owe toward each other and their posterity.
The signers’ mutual pledge to themselves to sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the cause of independence shows that these men took seriously their duties to the people of the new nation. A look at the historical record will show this to be beyond dispute.
Of the 56 men who signed the declaration, 12 fought in battles as members of state militias, five were captured and imprisoned during the Revolutionary War, 17 lost property as a result of British raids, and five lost their fortunes in helping fund the Continental Army and state militias battle the redcoats.
Below we will explore the sacrifices the signers made on behalf of the American cause.
Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton
Thomas Heyward Jr. of South Carolina was a signer of both the declaration and the Articles of Confederation. Heyward drew the ire of the British when, as a circuit court judge, he presided over the trial of several loyalists who were found guilty of treason. The prisoners were summarily executed in full view of British troops. In 1779, he joined the South Carolina militia as a captain of artillery. READ it HERE.