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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians hear about the Declaration of Independence

By Staff | Jul 14, 2020
PHOTO PROVIDED Eliga Gould, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, was the guest speaker for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club's recent meeting.

Recently, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club welcomed its new president, Richard Green. And while Sanibel did not have its usual Fourth of July parade through the middle of the island, he did present a moving video recalling memories of past parades that the club participated in. Hopefully, by this time next year, our parade will be bigger and better than ever, and our Independence Day celebrations will be even more appreciated.

The speaker at the club’s recent meeting was Eliga Gould, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire who specializes in American history, the American Revolution and Britain. He spoke about the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was actually voted on by Congress on July 2 and it was sent to the printer to be published on July 4, 1776, which then became the day we celebrate our independence. The actual handwritten document was not completed until sometime in August, which is when the actual signing took place.

Most Americans are more familiar with the second paragraph, which states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” At the time of the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the first paragraph – which states “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 to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which should impel them to the separation – was the paragraph that Congress cared most about. The first paragraph is where Congress declared independence. The things you never knew. Just a little tidbit for our Fourth of July knowledge bank.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom. To take part, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.