TIME TRAVEL

Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Declaration of Independence, My Ramblings, Poetry, Time Machines, Time Travel, U.S. History, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , |


If I could time travel, I would like to have attended the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  I would have liked to have been one of the signers of this brave act of rebellion and would have liked to have met with those farsighted men.  Of course, being a woman, I doubt if they would let me.  However, if they were to think about it (and of course in those days men really didn’t think about women in that way), it would have been more rebellious and even more farsighted.   Alas, the suffragette movement was a long way off.  I would have been content just being able to watch and listen.

Why would I choose this historical event?  I think the birth of a nation is like giving birth to a child.  You want to hold it close to you and you want the child-nation to be better than any other, especially in the case of the United States of America. Just think about it for a moment.  To my recollection, we were the very first nation to be born a free nation.  A nation without a king or queen, a nation without a dictator, a nation without an emperor or empress, a nation without a tsar or tsarina and a nation without a sultan.  Many Americans of that time wanted George Washington to be our king but he wanted a democracy.  There is a cute article posted on MSNBC’s website about who would be our king now if George Washington decided to be a king.  You can find it here:  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/28696126/ns/today-today_people/t/was-washington-man-who-wouldnt-be-king/#.TpK3upuImU9 .  I think you will enjoy reading it.

There were 56 signers of the Declaration. The first, largest, and most famous signature is that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. The youngest signer was Edward Rutledge (age 26). Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest. Two future presidents signed: John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President).[1]  It is interesting to note that George Washington did not sign The Declaration of Independence. “Prior to its work on the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress included Washington as a congressman from Virginia. But he resigned his position as a delegate when Congress formed the Continental Army and appointed him commanding general on June 14, 1775. So he was unavailable to participate, or to sign the Declaration.”[2]  But just think how interesting it would be to debate points of the document with two future presidents and Benjamin Franklin!  What minds there were!

We all know about Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  But do you know that Samuel Adams was the first person to propose a continental congress and that he was John Adams’ cousin?  Samuel Chase became public servant of the newly formed United States in 1796 when he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Another interesting signer was Elbridge Gerry who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1810 and 1811. He was criticized for redistricting the state to the advantage of his own party (Democratic-Republican). That incident was the source of the term gerrymandering.[3]

Another signer of The Declaration of Independence was Benjamin Harrison, father of the ninth president of the United States, William Henry Harrison.  “Francis Hopkinson was a man of extraordinary talent and charm. Born into a family of substance in Philadelphia, he was the first scholar and first Graduate of the College of Philadelphia, which his father, along with good friend Benjamin Franklin, played a role in chartering.”[4]  George Washington appointed him as a Federal District Judge.  There were two brothers from Virginia who signed The Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee.  Richard Lee opposed the federal constitution, as he favored strong state rights. However, he was elected the first State Senator from Virginia under the new federal government.  Well, you get the idea.

The list is full of men who believed they were patriots (which is another interesting discussion point), who were willing to give up everything for their cause, including their lives.  Most of the signers were leaders in their own areas of the country.  They were men of wealth and men of poverty, many were lawyers and doctors and many were highly educated in the best colleges, some had no formal education, but were self-taught.  They were men who farmed and they were merchants.  They were men who came from diversified backgrounds.  So, I imagine that their discussions were lively and deep.  I would have liked to be a spectator to hear the great orators of their time.  I would have been proud to be counted among them.  And, if I could, I would like to tell them about how their great country evolved to our country of today.  Would I try to change anything?  Yes, I would have them include women in the new government.  I know that would have greatly changed things, but who knows, they could have made things even better.  At the least they could have provided the men with snacks for energy!  I think one thing would have changed for sure, you wouldn’t have the suffragette movement (there would have been no need) and you probably would not have had The Prohibition.

Would I really like to time travel?  I don’t think so.  I am content with the world I know, although it is not perfect.  An interesting website about time machines and time travel is “The Starry Messenger.”  Click on the photo for the link to this website as I found it there.

To explore space and beyond...

If I Could

by Marilyn Sultar

If I could travel in time

It would be sublime.

If I could travel in time

Or travel in space

I would definitely jump at the chance

To explore and wander and learn about the

unknown

And then, perhaps, I could help build something good

for all mankind.

Dedicated to Gene Roddenberry, Stephen Hawking and Jules Verne.


[1] http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/index.htm

[2] http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_didn’t_George_Washington_sign_the_Declaration_of_Independence

[3] http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/gerry.htm

[4] http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/hopkinson.htm

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