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American Colonies - EVIDENCE OF FREEDOM

EVIDENCE OF FREEDOM (Illustration) American Revolution Famous Historical Events Famous People Geography Government History Law and Politics Revolutionary Wars Social Studies American History

About 102 years after George Washington received his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Army, Currier & Ives produced this commemoration. Published in New York, circa 1876, the image has this summary from the Library of Congress (where it is maintained): “Print shows George Washington standing on a platform surrounded by members of the Continental Congress. In the background, women wave their handkerchiefs.”

 

As soon as Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock wrote a letter to George Washington enclosing a copy of the Declaration. It was important for the Commander-in-Chief to know the American colonies were formally separated from Great Britain.

It was also important for the people to know. The Declaration was read to a crowd on the day it was signed (Thursday, the 4th of July) and the text was printed immediately. (Follow this link to view one of the earliest printings.)

By the 8th of July, it was the lead story in one of the most influential colonial papers: Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet. Six years after the Boston Massacre, citizens of that town heard the Declaration read on July 18, 1776 as they stood in the very place where Crispus Attucks fell.

While George III had prevented the colonies from printing their own money, Congress could now disregard the Currency Act of 1764. The English Parliament no longer governed America. Three weeks after the Declaration of Independence was signed, "The United Colonies" issued the country’s first dollars.

The Three Dollar Bill, issued on July 22, 1776, has an interesting emblem: An eagle fighting a heron with the motto Exitus in dubio est (the outcome is in doubt). The emblem on the Seven Dollar Bill is more positive (a storm at sea with the motto Serenabit - it will clear up) while the Thirty Dollar Bill hints at ultimate triumph (a wreath on a tomb with the words Si recte facies - if you act righteously).

Of course, as far as George III was concerned, the new dollar bills violated the law while the Declaration was a worthless piece of paper whose signers were guilty of treason. His Majesty would not give in.

The war would drag on for many more years.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Dec 03, 2014


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