“Today, we enjoy the blessings of liberty because of the brave actions of America’s Founding Fathers and of those patriots who were willing to risk everything to fight in the Continental Army. Looking back, from our vantage point in the comfortable present, at the events which culminated in the birth of a new nation called The United States of America, it’s easy to think that the result was a foregone conclusion. It was not.
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
The concept of pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor were not mere words. Yet, despite the risks involved, and odds for failure being very high, the signers were willing to put their names down on parchment for all the world to read. At the time of the American Revolution, Great Britain was arguably the most powerful nation on the planet, with the most powerful navy. What these men were doing, transformed them from British subjects, to rebels, and finally into American Patriots. The last step in this evolution would only take place if the American colonies were successful in overthrowing the British yoke. Had the revolution been unsuccessful, all of these men would have forfeited their lives. In essence, in signing the Declaration, they were potentially signing their own death warrants. They were guilty of High Treason in the eyes of the British Government.1 And what was the penalty for High Treason?2”