The History Channel admits The Sons of Liberty is a fictionalized accounting of the events that lead to the Revolutionary War, but even for those who know the facts, it is still an enjoyable six hour reminder of our history. Growing up, we always had a framed copy of two documents on the wall: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. My father read both to us in their entirety several times and made sure we knew how important they were to both our country and the world. As the son of Italian immigrants and a World War II veteran, he was fervent in his love for this country, and he wanted to make sure we appreciated the freedoms those brave men and women fought for in our names.
I have never been able to read the Declaration of Independence without choking up. It is, to me, the most profoundly stirring statement of human rights that has ever been written. When one considers the age of the men who penned it and the state of the world in which they lived, one can't help but be in awe of their vision. While most people are familiar with the introduction and preamble to the Declaration, unless you've read the entire thing, you may not know that it is actually a 27-count indictment of King George III.
Fifty-six men from twelve colonies (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware) signed the document, which was, in effect, a declaration of treason in the eyes of the British Crown. They could have been put to death for that alone. Thomas Jefferson (at age 36) wrote the original draft, with help from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and the entire assembly then made minor changes and tweaks before it was approved and signed.
In case you've never read the entire document, or you want to refresh your memory, here is the final transcript of the Declaration of Independence with the 27 indictments numbered: