Do You Remember the Poll Tax?

Do You Remember the Poll Tax?

What a privilege it is for every American citizen to vote. Throughout our history, we have had quite a voting legacy beginning with the poll tax! Can you imagine having to pay to vote?!?

As we enter into the voting booth November 8th, cherish the privilege that makes America the greatest republic in the world. We are not confined by our differences, we are defined by them. We are not under the iron boot of a cruel and oppressive government, we are a free people. Our freedom has been bought with the precious blood of our own treasure.

Our forefathers experienced the totalitarianism of a king that drove his people to poverty and who buoyed himself on the shoulders of an elitist class. Oppressed even in the confines of religious tyranny, our founding fathers gave everything they had to flee. Theirs' would be one nation under God with soul liberty the foundation of the Constitution. Freedom of speech. Freedom from want. Freedom of worship. Freedom from fear.

With all of their failings, they envisioned a nation that would BE FREE. It is the power of the vote that has been given to us that maintains that freedom. What price did they pay?

Today is an appropriate time to reflect on the nation’s founding some 246 years ago. May we never forget to pause and think about the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence – and the prices many paid for their respective commitments to forming a new nation.

• Five of the 56 Declaration signers were captured by the British and tortured as traitors.

• Nine of the 56 Declaration signers fought and died in the American Revolution.

• Four other of the 56 Declaration signers lost their sons in the Continental Army or had sons who were captured.

• At least a dozen of the 56 Declaration signers had their homes looted and destroyed.

• Declaration signer Richard Stockton, a New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice, returned to his Princeton estate to find that his wife and children were living like refugees after being betrayed by a Tory (an American colonist who supported the British) sympathizer who also revealed Stockton’s location. British troops captured him and threw him in jail, where he almost starved to death.

When he was finally released, he went home to find his estate had been looted and burned. He had been so badly beaten in prison that he died before the war’s end. His surviving family lived the rest of their lives off charity.

• At the Battle of Yorktown on the York River in Virginia, Thomas Nelson, Jr.’s home had been overrun by British Gen. Charles Cornwallis, who had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. Nelson urged Gen. George Washington to open fire on his own home. This was done, and the home was destroyed. Cornwallis later surrendered the British forces at Yorktown in 1781, ending the fighting in the American Revolution.

Nelson, one of the brave and noble 56 signers, died bankrupt.

The 56 Declaration of Independence signers in July 1776 came from various walks of life. Most were considered well-educated for the time. The 56 included lawyers, store merchants, farmers, teachers, one surveyor (Abraham Clark) and even one poor soul who was a printer (Ben Franklin).

All knew without a doubt what would happen if they were caught by the enemy or exposed by a traitor. Still, they signed that wonderful and (thus far) lasting document that, along with the U.S. Constitution, is the basis for the greatest nation on earth.

What made this document so grand that they would risk their lives and the lives of their families?

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

These 56 brave men looked to future generations to strengthen our nation and preserve the freedoms they established. It begins with YOUR VOTE. Early voting begins October 24, 2022 in Texas. May God shed His grace on America.

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