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Richard Henry Lee (20 January 1732 - 19 June 1794), planter and Virginia statesman, the originator of the resolution for independence in the Continental Congress and a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
But before I delve into this philosophy I want to comment on a point of historical trivia. “Unalienable” first appears in John Dunlap’s initial printing of the Declaration (July 5), which was inserted in the rough Journal of Congress.
The Declaration we know today refers to “unalienable” rights, but Jefferson used the word “inalienable.” Jefferson did not make this change, nor does the change appear to have been made by Congress while it was considering the draft submitted by the Committee of Five. It also appears in the corrected Journal and in the engrossed parchment version, which was signed by delegates on August 2.
Although the resolution was certain to pass, unanimous ratification by the colonies was wanted, and for various reasons this was not possible until some glitches had been worked out.
Lee’s resolution for American Independence passed on July 2 (not July 4).
Born at Stratford, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Lee was educated privately and at Wakefield Academy in England.
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From 1758-1775 he served in the House of Burgesses, and sat in the Continental Congress from 1774-79, 1784-85, and 1787.It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.That 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 that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.After considering this resolution twice (June 8 and 10), Congress postponed further consideration until July 1.This prompted an excited John Adams to write to his wife, Abigail: The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.He also sat in the Virginia legislature in 1777, 1780, and 1785. Lee had four surviving children with his first wife, Anne Aylett (1738-1768) and five children by his second wife, Anne Gaskins Pinckard.He sat in the Virginia constitutional ratification convention in 1788 (opposing ratification), and was elected to the first U. Lee died at his Westmoreland County plantation Chantilly in 1794. Do you know of additional books which should be included here?The first part of the second paragraph, as painstakingly reconstructed by Carl Becker in 1922 (We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles & organizing it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.We have here a brilliantly concise statement of what historians call “Real” (or “Radical”) Whig ideology, a libertarian political philosophy commonly associated with John Locke.