tv Reel America Our Heritage - 1966 CSPAN July 11, 2022 7:10am-7:41am EDT
nature's god entitled 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. a certain i mean evil rights that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happyness. dr. frank c baxter is an american a man of many degrees and awards including the famed peabody award in addition to seven tv emmys. he is a dedicated student of
american history and proud in the one thing. he loves above all else his country now. let us meet our distinguished hosts. oh. i'm not one of our marriage to american institutions i'm only frank baxter. however with the help of some powerful pages of history, we're going to reexamine this priceless document this venerable piece of parchment that has been handed down to us with ever so much loving care. this declaration of independence. that is our heritage. most of us i think know a little of what happened on that hot prickly fourth of july in 1776. we know that the liberty bell rang. we know the thomas jefferson played a part in it and john adams. we know it took place in philadelphia in independence hall or the state house.
this was at that time. and were all familiar with the signature of john hancock wrote his name so large that king george could read it even without his spectacles. let's take a good look at our great national treasure our crown jewels, so to speak. for it is a treasure of value without compare. out of this seed part of our heritage is come the constitution. out of it came the bill of rights. out of it came our fundamental laws. and out of it came a philosophy and a word that swept the world as no other political ideas ever done before or since. we're out of our herities has come human liberty democracy the birth of a great nation. this is our heritage. all right. now we know a little of what it is. next we ask ourselves. how did it happen? why was it necessary suddenly to
shuck off our family ties to cut the apron strings that bound us to mother, england? well, it didn't happen suddenly. it was a long long time before the pressure was strong enough to blow the lid one man alone was responsible. handsome young stubborn ill-start villain of the story his majesty king george the third of england. in all 28 separate and specific charges are listed in the declaration. the king was building the troops in the homes of the people the king deprived this in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury. the king suspended our legislatures and refused to listen to our side of the dispute. he is ravaged our coast burned our towns and destroyed our people. this is the heart of the matter. he's oppressive acts by england.
you unjust taxes one after another taxes on personal property if you please. all of which cause patrick henry to explode into defiance give me liberty. give me death the stab act the towns of act of 65 import on glass paper and tea. a boycott by the colonists crop repeal of this act except for the tax on tea result and patriots disguised as indians had themselves a tea party. in 1770 mob of rowdies heckled alone british century in boston.
the guard came mob through stones britishers fired a ragged valley. 5-4 misguided souls late dead and history called it the boston massacre. height of april 1875 paul revere rides british column moves on lexington shots are fired. the eight colonists killed april 19th redcoats routed and concord the tide turns and a new country. to 17 1775 a swarming army of ragtail militiamen stand up to the full mind of england's best thousand redcoats die on the
slopes of breeds hill to be known later as the battle of bunker hill. oh, yes. it was a long time coming this explosion that was triggered by the actions of the men who gathered in the old state house on that hot fourth of july in 1776. these men who before the day was over. were to mutually pledged to each other their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor. their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor. this is where the united states of america was born. right here in this sacred shrine. think of the men who've met here. probably is great a collection of brains and vision.
of education of genius of courage of experience ever brought together in the history of mankind. it was if you believe in them and i believe in this one a miracle. i have no doubt of it. excitement crackled among the delegates from the 13 colonies on that fourth of july. they were here to make a decision. should they vote to several all ties of the crown? or should they procrastinate stall off the inevitable? try to give king george just one more chance. specifically the delegates to the congress were to decide on a resolution presented about three weeks early by richard henry lee senior delegate from the colony of virginia. but these united colonies are and of right ought to be free
and independent states that they are absolved from all allegiance to the british crown. and all political connections between them and the state of great britain is and ought to be totally dissolve the delegates and thought about they talk to each other about it the whole population of the colonies have been discussing it. in fact. now the decision had to be made. think for a moment of the consequences of this action. if they voted for independence, that would be a war a costly bloody war and if they lost. it would in all certainty mean confiscation of their property. prison for their families in a certain as anything could be the hangman's noose for the lot of them now congress had made another decision back there on the 7th of june a wise and i think a most fortunate decision. they appointed to committee to
prepare document an actual declaration of independence. just in case knees resolution was passed later on. five men representative of the whole were chosen to be on this drafting committee. there was robert. livingston of new york the young lawyer only 30 years old at the time livingston later administered the oath of office to george washington at his first inauguration. and there was roger sherman of connecticut 55 years old very successful merchant a long time public official both feet firmly on the ground shrewd and able. benjamin franklin was on that drafting committee old man 69 from pennsylvania a legend in his own time ritter author inventor. he invented bifocals, you know statesman publisher philosopher scientist educator
philanthropist. you name it franklin. was it from massachusetts? there was john adams only 41 in the full light of history one of the most eminent of all americans was adams forthright impulsive. he was honest he was noble atlas of american independence. i'm the chairman of the committee picked almost by chance chance. we may say now guided by a divine hand. he was from virginia and he was put 33 years of age sandy-haired slightly freckled outstanding and politics economics agriculture architecture and science. his name is est for all time wherever freedom and liberty and the dignity of man are recognized. thomas jefferson well the committee met and as is the way with committees three of them had other things to do so the
real work fell to items and jefferson. items much more experienced in the senior of the two said to jefferson. you should draft this document jefferson declined modestly. i'll give you. reasons that adams reason the first you are a virginian and a virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. reason second i am controversial and unpopular. you are very much. otherwise and reason third you can write ten times better than i can. that settled it young thomas. jefferson was elected. shortly, his talented pen settled to the task. we can imagine this sensitive young man angry and resentful of the king yet mature enough and wise enough to hold himself and
check he writes he scratches out. he talks with franklin. he talks with adams and he writes some more and slowly word by word thought fight thought their evolves the noble majestic music of the declar. and of independence 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 it gathers momentum like an eagle taking off from a mountain crag into the vastness of the sky. then this tremendous statement 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 and that among these are light. liberty and the pursuit of happiness notion of independence
former, john dickinson of pennsylvania protested what he said made much good sense. prepared to battle power of britain they ever hope to win the cool logic of this cast to damper on the congress. then john adams rose never an orator or easy with words or once his lips were touched with fire. he had but one theme the necessity for liberty. warmth of his idealism galvanized the congress to debate once more adams is stirring speech was punctuated by a passing summer storm with dramatic bolts of lightning crashes of thunder. finally on the second of july congress agreed that there was
no other course but to sever the ties that bound the colonies to the crown. tom jefferson's great document was introduced wisely changed the line here. thought there on july. fourth 1776 they unanimously accepted the final form and began to append their signatures. i was cast. there was no retreat. declaration was dispatched forth with by mounted couriers to all the colonies. on july 5th. it was read aloud that the people of philadelphia and the famous old fell in the tower proclaimed liberties throughout the land. our most famous and venerated
symbol of patriotism the liberty bell which forever reminds us most forcefully of our sacred heritage. another famous symbol of liberty the capital dome in washington. what it stands? war is also part of the legacy bequeathed us by jefferson and adams and franklin and hancock and all that courageous band on the fourth of july and 76. yes, the symbol of government of free men strong and powerful yet tender and solicitous toward those who seek its shelter. a government born of the declaration of independence
magnificent isn't it arcing far above our heads? the dome of this celebrated rotunda the rotunda which is the very heart of our nation's capital. where these paintings illustrate so dramatically our glorious history the surrender general burgoyne at saratoga this signal the first major defeat of the british and was the turning point of the revolution. one of a series of paintings by the famous john trumbull another trumbull masterpiece. great milestone in our history the surrender of cornwallis at yorktown in 1781. this marked the end of the british cause in america our first president. george washington farmer soldiers statesman his faith in man his love of liberty provided the very strength that pulse the
newborn nation trumbles painting of a weary commander resigning his commission after leading his troops to victory. soon after grateful nation bestowed upon general washington, its highest honor. president of the new republic but this is the painting that interests us most now. the declaration of independence there's the drafting committee presenting the great document to the president of the congress john hancock harvest trumbull new these men and events first hand and his familiarity is so convincingly expressed in his art. there's rugged john adams. roger sherman young robert livingston there's the author jefferson in his gay red vest. and ben franklin short in stature, but a giant among men. the great moment in history the
burton and you know our nation's capital city is rich and visible divid. from our precious heritage i wonder what those delegates to the continental congress would have to say about this great capital city of ours. monument to a government of free men abraham lincoln was fully aware of every word in the declaration of independence. the date was 1861 and abe lincoln was on his way to the nation's capital for his first inauguration. caused in philadelphia long enough to say to a gathering at
independence hall. i have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the declaration of independence. it was the sentiment in that document. which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted. the shoulders of all men in the distance the white house where abraham lincoln lived and worked. 1,600 pennsylvania avenue a famous address home of our presidents whose solomoth of office dedicates their very lives to the preservation of our sacred heritage this legacy this magnificent inheritance. has not been handed to us on a silver platter. not by a long shot price of
liberty and freedom comes dear very dear when the chips are we are prepared always to defend these sacred principles upon which our nation was founded. earl rests on our faith in the destiny of our country. through such faith our forefathers built this country. it's been costly. oh so costly. there is scarcely been a period of time and all our history when
our heritage is not been challenged and threatened. this dark and evil menace never ceases and we have never ceased to meet it. to go for freedom and independence and tragic winter at valley forge 12 the first time the united states became really united. this is scott key wrote the star-spangled banner 1846. our dispute with mexico texas joins the union and our southern boundary is firmly established. tragedy of the war between the states neighbor against neighbor
too soon by korea are heritage in its bravest price of liberty was the lifeblood of our youth. through this requiem of silence runs the mighty theme of the declaration of independence hoist so eloquently by thomas jefferson. i have sworn upon the altar of god eaternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. what life goes on for the republic which those men of 1776
established new generation follows old generation a spring follows winter? wonderful, isn't it? just think that tiny seed of freedom planted by our valley and forefathers. has grown into a nation. nations a nation which champions the dignity of man throughout the world. these trees were a gift to us from the people of japan more than 50 years ago each spring thousands of americans flock to washington just to admire their matchless beauty. we can stand here and wonder if one of the most thrilling sites we have ever had the privilege to behold. we're over there across the reflecting waters of the title. basin is the jefferson memorial. the stately and beautiful tribute paid to jefferson by the american people for whom he did so much.
inspired words of jefferson proudly carved here on the walls of this shrine. birds that will never die but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions and matters of religion. god who gave us life gave us liberty. not an advocate for when changes and laws and constitutions but laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind.