Roger Sherman was the only man to sign all four of America’s founding documents - Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, and U.S. Constitution. Although Sherman was from a poor family and was not able to afford a formal education, he became a pre-eminent defender of liberty and individual rights. Sherman thirsted for knowledge, desired to serve others, and struggled against the odds to build a successful business and political career. He listened to the people of Connecticut and served them by pursuing freedom at a great personal loss. He died at the age of 72 while still serving his State in the U.S. Senate.
Caesar Rodney was a delegate from Delaware that cast the decisive vote for independence in July 1776. Rodney’s midnight ride is not as famous as Paul Revere’s, but may have been the greater of the two since his ride ended on the doorstep of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Nine colonies had voted for independence, two against, New York abstained, and Delaware had a split vote. Rodney’s vote became critical, so a messenger was sent to recall him back to Congress. During the night of July 1st and into the early morning of July 2nd, Rodney traveled on horseback 80 miles through a thunderstorm. Rodney served his country at the local and State levels and fought in two wars. Again, like many of the Founders, he was an accomplished man who died young having served the cause of liberty.
Thomas Nelson Jr., a descendant of the Plantagenet House through King Edward III, formed the Virginia militia and served as its first commander. He was a Patriot who supported the War for Independence with his purse and sword, and put his country and liberty above his own profit. Nelson was with the Continental Army at the siege of Yorktown, and according to legend, he urged General George Washington to target his own home, the location of General Cornwallis’ headquarters. Nelson offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house. As with so many of our Founders, Nelson died young, soon after the war ended. As an aristocrat, his sacrifice for his fellow countrymen was higher than most – he could have led a comfortable life ruling over the commonwealth, instead he chose to fight for liberty.