tv Reel America Our Heritage - 1966 CSPAN July 4, 2022 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT
pinches mankind requires that they should declare congress which compel them to the separation. >> we hold these truths to be self evident, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> dr. frank baxter is an american, a man of 90 degrees and awards including the famed peabody award in addition to seven keady enemies. he is a dedicated student of american history, and proud of the one thing, above all else,
his country. now let us meet our distinguished host. >> i am only frank baxter. however, with the help of some powerful pages of history we are going to re-examine this pricelesss document, this piece of parchment that has been handed down l 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 we know the liberty bell rang. we know thomas jefferson played a part in it, and john adams. we know it took place in philadelphia in independence hall, or the statehouse which it
was known at that time, , and we're all familiar with the signature of john hancock who 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 jewel so to speak. for itt is a treasure value without compare. out of this comes the constitution. out of that came the bill of rights. out of it cameme our fundamental laws. and out of it came a philosophy and a word that's what the world as no other political idea has ever done before or since. for out of our heritage has come human liberty, democracy, and the birth of a great nation. and 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
shock off our family ties, to cut the apron strings that bound us to mother england? well, it didn't happenpe sudden. it was a long, long time before the pressure was strong enough to blow the lid. one man alone was responsible, the handsome young stubborn villain of the story, his majesty king george iii of england. in all, 28 separate and specific charges are listed in the declaration. a king was building the troops in harms of the people. the king deprived us of the benefits of trial by jury. they king suspended our legislators and refused to listen to our side of the dispute. he has ravaged our coasts, destroyed our people. this is the harm of the matter. these oppressive acts by england. ♪ ♪ ♪
>> unjust taxes one after another, taxes on personal property. all of which cause patrick henry to explode into fights, give me liberty or give me death. the stamp act, the act of 65, import on paper and t. a boycott by the colonists brought repeal of this act set for the tax on tea, result, disguised as indians had themselves a tea party. in 1770, they heckled them in boston. the guard came. mobs threw stones.
they fired. five poor misguided souls lay dead, and history called it the boston massacre. paul revere arrives. the british colony moves on. shots were fired. eight colonists are killed. april 19, redcoats routed the convoy, the tide turns in the new country. june 17, 1775, the swarming army of militiamen stand up to the full line of england's best. a thousand redcoats die on the
slopes, later known 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 statehouse on that fourth of july in 1776. these men who, before the day was over, were to mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. their lives, their fortune, 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 have met here. probably as great a collection of brains and vision and
courage,, genius, of of experience ever brought together in the history of mankind.m it was, if you believe in them, and i believe in this one, a miracle. i have no doubt of it. >> excitement crackle among the delegates from the 13 colonies on that fourth of july. they were here to make a decision, should they vote to sever all ties with the crown? or should they procrastinate, stall off the inevitable, try to get king george just one more chance? specifically, the delegates to congress were to decide on a resolution, presented about three weeks earlier by richard henry lee, senior delegate from a colony of virginia. let these united colonies are and 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 dissolved.. the delegates 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 there would be a war, a costly, bloody war. and if they lost it would in all certainty mean confiscation of thepr property, prison for the families, and certainly if anything could be, the hangman snoozed for the lot of them. congress made another decision back to on the seventh of june, all wise and to think most fortunate decision. they appointed a committee to preparen a document, an actual
declaration of independence, just in case the resolution was passed later on. five menep represented of the whole were chosen to be on this drafting committee. ♪ ♪ >> there was robert r livingston of the door,r, a 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, 95 years old, very successful merchant, longtime public official. both feet firmly on the ground, shrewd and able. benjamin franklin was on that drafting committee. old bin, 69, pennsylvania, a legend of his own time, printer, author, inventor. he invented bifocals, you know. statesmen, publisher, philosopher, scientist, educator, philanthropist, you
name it, franklin was it. from massachusetts there was john adams, only 41, who, one of the most eminent of all americans, was adams, forthright, impulsive, he was honest and he was noble. and the chairman of the committee, picked almost by chance, a chance we may say now guided by a divine hand. he was from virginia and he was but 33 years of age, sandy haired, slightly freckled, outstanding and politics, economics, agriculture, architecture and science. his name is edged for all time wherever freedom and liberty and the dignity of land are recognized, thomas jefferson. the committee met and as is the way with committees, three of them had other things to do. so the real work fell to adams
and jefferson. adams much more experience in the senior of the two, said to jefferson, you should draft this document. jefferson declined modestly. i'll give you three reasons, said 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 wasec elected. shortly, his talented and settle 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
in check. he writes.s. he scratches out. he talks with franklin. he talks with adams and he writes some more. and slowly word by word, thought by thought, there evolves unknowable, majestic majestic music of the declaration 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 of 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 certainer unalienable rights, ad that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> on july 1 the congress
resumed its debate on lee's resolution of independence. farmer john dickinson of pennsylvania protested. what he said made much good sense. the colonists were unprepared to battle the mighty power of britain which could never hope to win. full logicf of this cast at damper on the congress. then john adams rose. never an order or easy with words or once his lips were touched with fire, he had but one thing,r the necessary -- necessity for liberty, the warmth of his idealism galvanize the congress to debate once more. more. add-ins stirring speech was punctuated by a passing summer storm with dramatic bolts of lightning and thunder. finally, on the second of july congress agreed that there was no other course but to sever the
ties that battle to the ground. the great document was introduced. the delegates wisely changed the line here, a thought there, and on july 4, 1776, they unanimously accepted the final form and begin to affix their signatures. the die was cast here there was no retreat. the declaration was dispatched forthwith by carriers to all the colonies. on july 5, it was read aloud that the people of philadelphia and the famous old bell in the tower proclaim liberty throughout the land. our most famous and venerated symbol of patriotism, the bell, which forever
reminds us most forcefully of our sacred heritage. another famous symbol ofou liberty, the capitol dome in washington. what it stands for is also part of the legacy between jefferson and adams and franklin and hancock, and all those courageous on the fourth of july, 1776. yes, the symbol of government of free men, strong and powerful, yet tender towards those who seek its shelter. a government born of the declaration of independence. yes, this is our heritage. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> magnificent, isn't it?
arcing far above our heads, , te dome of this celebrated rotunda, the rotunda which is the very heart of our nation's capital, and where these paintings illustrate so dramatically our glorious history. the surrender of the general at saratoga. this signaled the first major defeat of the british and was the turning point of the revolution. one of a a series of paintingy 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, soldier, statesman, his faith in man, his love of liberty valued the newborn
nation. i would recommend resign his commission after leading his troops to victory. soon after, grateful nation was told upon general washington its highest honor, president of the new republic. but this ishe the painting, the declaration of independence. and there is the drafting committee presenting the great document to the president of the congress, john hancock. artist trumbull knew thesend men and events firsthand, and his familiarity is so convincingly expressed in his art. there's rugged john adams, roger sherman, young robert livingston. there isre the author jeffersonn this game red vest, and ben franklin, short in stature but a giant among men. a great moment in history, the birth of our nation.
♪ ♪ ♪ >> and you know our c nation's capital city is rich in dividends from our precious heritage. i wonder what those delegates to the continental congress would have to say about this great capital city of ours? a monument to a government of free men. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> abraham lincoln was fully aware of every word in the declaration of independence. the date was 1861. abe lincoln was on his way to the nation's capital for his first inauguration. policy in philadelphia long enough to say at a gathering in
independence hall, i have never had a feeling politically that did not spring through the -- through the declaration of independence. it was the sentiment of that document which made promise but in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> in the distance the white house where abraham lincoln lived and worked. 1600 pennsylvania avenue, a famous address. all of our presidents whose solemn oath 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. ♪ ♪ ♪
>> life, liberty and freedom comes dear. very dear. when the chips are down we are prepared always to defend the sacred principles upon which our nation was founded. the hope of our world rests on our faith and 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 in all our history when our heritage has not been challenged and threatened.
this dark and evil menace never ceases, and we have never ceased to meet it. our struggle for freedom and independence, and that tragic winter at valley forge. the war of 1812, the battle of new orleans. for the first time the estates became really united. francis scott key wrote the star-spangled banner. in 1846 our dispute with mexico, texas joined the union and our southern boundary is firmly established. the tragedy of the war between the states, neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. our nation torn asunder.
follow to sin by korea. our heritage in its bravest our. the price of liberty was the lifeblood of our youth. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> through this requiem of silence roams the mighty theme of the declaration of independence, voice so eloquently by thomasho jefferso. i have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> but life goes on for the republic which those minute 1776
established. new generations follows old generation as spring follows winter. wonderful, isn't it? to think that tiny seat of freedom planted our valiant forefathers has grown into a nation among nations. a nation which champions the dignity of land 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 beauty. we could stand here and wonder about one of the most thrilling sights we've ever had the privilege to behold. for over there, crossed cross rg waters of the tidal basin is the jefferson memorial. the stately and beautiful tribute paid to jefferson by the american people for whom he did so much. ♪ a ♪
♪ ♪ ♪ >> inspired words of jefferson proudly carved here on the walls of this shrine. words that will never die. that all men shall be free to profess, by argument, to maintain their opinions in matters of religion. god who gave us life gave us liberty. i am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.
>> representatives of the grover cleveland birthplace memorial association and the sixth floor museum in dallas talked about presidential libraries and the american public process the death of former presidents. here's some of what they had to say. >> this is one of the best unexpected moments. as many of you will remember president bush and bob dole were big political rivals. they had a very nasty 1988 republican primary contest, and both said some things that they probably wished they hadn't said. they became huge friends, and when senator dole, this is when president bush was lying in state in the rotunda, and insisted on standing and saluting the casket. he is in a wheelchair now. i had an opportunity to ask him why he did this, why he insisted
on standing, and i can't tell you the answer without crying. he said i had to stand and salute that great man. this is one of the big pictures of the funeral that went viral. >> you can watch the full program at c-span.org/history. just search presidential morning and tragedy. >> as you know from having been here before in the time before the pandemic we had to begin our shows by reciting together the national constitution center's inspiring congressional mission. say we go. i know some of you remember it by heart. the national constitution center is the only institution in america chartered by congress to increase awareness and understanding of the constitution among the americann people on amo nonpartisan basis. hittable. debbie go. [applause] increasing awareness and understanding of the