With the Fourth of July still fresh in our mind, here is a bit of trivia: What is the significance to “9 out of 13” when it comes to Independence Day?
Answer: 9 out of 13 colonies voted in favor of declaring their independence from England on July 1st, 1776. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no, Delaware was undecided, and New York abstained from the vote.
This proved to be an issue, the Continental Congress required a unanimous vote (13 of 13) to declare independence from King George. If you can put yourself in the shoes of the Colonial Delegates, the stress and tension of the vote must have been suppressing! Keep in mind this is nearly one year after the Revolutionary War began and the American Patriot movement was well under way. I imagine the 9 delegates who voted “Yes” had a hard time containing themselves when they saw the 4 “No” delegates cast their vote.
Spoiler alert... all four delegates change their vote to “Yes”. The process of changing those votes is interesting. South Carolina’s story isn’t too compelling, they reversed their decision after voting again one day later. New York (who abstained from the first vote), re-voted in favor of independence. Now, the vote for freedom and Independence comes down to Delaware and Pennsylvania. A delegate from Delaware named Caesar Rodney embarked on an all-night horse ride to Philadelphia to break the tie in favor of independence. This heroic trek is now embodied on the Delaware state quarter.
Two delegates from Pennsylvania who were both opposed to independence abstained from the re-vote. This allowed the delegation to vote 3-2 in favor of independence, securing the unanimous decision to oppose England and King George. One of the delegates from Pennsylvania, John Dickinson, decided to abstain from the vote because he “recognized the symbolic importance of a unanimous decision.” Realizing he could no longer stay in Congress due to his decision, he left the statehouse and volunteered for the Pennsylvania militia. Quite the career change - a delegate in the Continental Congress to a volunteer member of the state militia.
Independence Day is a wonderful celebration of freedom, but it is also a reminder that there is always a greater good. When people put themselves last and work together, great things happen. I am lucky enough to see this at LifeShare Technologies. We are not declaring independence from a king (although dumping tea in a harbor does sound fun), but we are working together to enhance the lives of others.
To read more about the colonies quest for independence click here! For even more reading check out: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=R000376 and http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/declaration-of-independence/