Independence Day Special, Part 2 – From America’s Hidden History: Do Americans know why we celebrate the 4th of July? What important information is being left out of our history books…or just isn’t covered in class? Who gave us our freedom? What was their faith? How did they sacrifice…for you and me? Click the link to hear this Independence Day special from America’s Hidden History! 


Air Date: 07/04/2023

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture


You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith in the culture,

always from a biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re doing that today. Actually, we started yesterday. No, no; I take that back.

We started at the beginning of the week. We’ve been talking about Independence Day, July 4th, and what freedom is all about, and how to celebrate it this week and through the weekend.

Independence Day Special

And then, starting yesterday and then picking up today, we’re doing a special Independence Day celebration from a TBN special that David and Tim Barton did. And, we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday.

This is actually a three-part Independence Day special. So, you if you missed yesterday, you definitely want to go to and listen to that program. It’s available right now on the website.

Then, today of course, we get the middle part of that. Tomorrow we’ll get the conclusion and encourage you to celebrate all weekend this wonderful freedom that we enjoy. Let’s take a quick break; then, we’ll dive right into where we left off yesterday.

You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Richard Stockton


We’re in Princeton, New Jersey. And, this is the home of Richard Stockton. He’s one of the signers of the Declaration from New Jersey.

He’s dying and knows it, knows his kids are about to be fatherless. So, what do you do? What he did was in his last will and testament is say, “As my children shall have frequent occasion in perusing this document, and may wonder as to the beliefs of their father,” he then went through listed all the doctrines of Christianity, all the necessity of living a moral life and how it’s important in this life.

He just gave fatherly guidance to his kids that are about to be without their father. Great leader, great attorney. Mr. Stockton was on the Supreme Court here in New Jersey; but, a great story of Richard Stockton.

John and Abigail Adams


We’re in Quincy, Massachusetts actually at the home of John and Abigail Adams. Now, John and Abigail Adams are probably more notable names when it comes to the Founding Era; although, probably most Americans couldn’t tell a lot about their story. Well, John Adams, specifically, was born in 1735.

He was a descendant of both Pilgrims and Puritans, so a really cool family history, fun family tree. As a young man, he was very engaged in the culture around him, got involved in politics, decides he wants to become a lawyer, and becomes a lawyer. He meets a young woman named Abigail Smith and thinks This one was really impressive; I need to know her more.

Well, her father was one of the local pastors. John Adams become so impressed with Abigail they end up getting married. Together they have six children, although one daughter actually died when she was one year old and one daughter was stillborn, so four that survived.

One son goes on to become the 6th president of the United States John Quincy Adams. But, in 1770 was the infamous Boston Massacre. Now, there was already some tension with the Americans and British anyway; but, when the massacre happened, it really brought unrest between the Americans and British.

And, the Americans were so frustrated they wanted to execute the officer and the soldiers involved. Well, John Adams is a lawyer. In fact, he was a lawyer tasked with defending the British in this scenario, which no American was proud of.

Recommending Washington, Drafting the Declaration

In fact, they were very frustrated. But, John Adams did it with great integrity. Now, John Adams actually argued the case so well that the officer and the soldiers got off free.

Which again, no American was happy about, although they at least had the understanding and integrity to recognize it wasn’t John Adams trying to defend them because he liked what they did. It was rather a condition of the law, and John Adams wanted justice.

Well, the people actually supported John Adams enough that John Adams was then elected to become part of their general assembly that same year. Then, shortly after that in 1774, is when there’s the First Continental Congress. And, this is where for the very first time, you have people from all 13 colonies coming together, trying to figure out what’s going on in the midst of the problems with the British.

Well, it’s during these congresses as they’re meeting together that John Adams actually proposes that George Washington be the Commander in Chief. He says, “That man from Virginia ought to be our commander. ”Well, as John Adams continues on, he stays involved in this political realm.

In fact, he becomes known as one of the Sons of Liberty. In the midst of this, in 1776, he was put on the committee of five that was tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence. And, although Thomas Jefferson really is a guy who did the writing of the Declaration, when they brought back the Declaration and presented it to the rest of Congress John Adams was a chief advocate.

He was the one encouraging the rest of the Congressmen, “We have to get this done. We need the Declaration and now.” So, he became the leader on the floor of actually getting the Declaration passed. The following year in 1777, Adams was appointed by Congress to go over to Europe and actually spent the next many years in Europe trying to negotiate an end to the war with Britain, working with France, working in Holland.

In 1788, he resigned his post in Europe and came back to America. Now, while he was in Europe, they actually did the Constitution, so he had nothing to do with the Constitution. Although, when he returned, he did write in favor supporting the Constitution, saying, “It is great; this is what we need to do.”

Well, the following year, he becomes the first vice president of the United States under the first president, George Washington. And, he served in that post for eight years. At the end of eight years, he was chosen to be the second president of the United States.

“Independence Forever”

Now, his vice president was Thomas Jefferson. And, it was unique because at that point, you didn’t pick your vice president. The vice president was the person who had the second most votes.

Thomas Jefferson had run against him; so, they were not political friends. Well, at the end of his first term, Thomas Jefferson decides that he wants to be president and runs. And so, John Adams loses in his bid to become a president for a second term.

At this point, he decides to retire from public life because he’s served for so many years. He comes back to this home again in Quincy, Massachusetts. Well, even though they had great disagreements throughout their political career, at the end of their life, he and Jefferson became friends. Quite uniquely, on the 50 anniversary of the Declaration, July 4, 1826, he and Thomas Jefferson, both being friends, both died on that day.

On the morning of the 50th anniversary, John Adams wasn’t able to get out of bed. His family and friends recognize this is probably the end of his life. They gathered around the bed and asked if he would like to propose a toast.

So, John Adams raised his glass, and his last words were “Independence forever.”

Honest John Hart


We’re in Hopeful, New Jersey; and, this is the home of John Hart, one of the signers of the Declaration from New Jersey. He was actually one of the older signers, who was in his upper 60s when he signed the Declaration. And, he was a favorite of all of his neighbors.

Now, he had a farm here; there’s 400 acres here. John loved farming and being outdoors; and, his neighbors loved him because he always did what was right. As a matter of fact, they called him “Honest John Hart.” and so trusted him that for nearly 20 years, they elected him to local offices in the state legislature.

And, he just did what was right time after time. Well, when he signed the Declaration of Independence, that certainly made the British mad at him. And so, they wanted him and wanted him bad.

When word came that the British were coming, he was in his house at the bedside of his wife who was sick and was dying. He had 13 kids, all the responsibilities of the farm; but, the neighbors come and say, “You’ve got to leave. The British are just around the corner; you gotta go.”

And, his friends and neighbors get him out of the house just before the British arrive. So, as it turns out, his wife actually ended up dying. He wasn’t there when she did.

Then the British hunted him for the next several months all over the state. And amazingly, he never spent two nights in a row in the same place. He would sleep in an a cave or sleep under a creek bank.

He even said that there were times he would crawl and where dogs were asleep to sleep there with the dogs, like in a dog house. And, for a year this man in his upper 60s is living in all this rough area, and the British are chasing him. Well, when the British finally left the area, he returns home.

His kids have been scattered, his estate has been pillaged, all of his livestock has been butchered. It’s just been desolate; and, his wife is now gone. It hurt him so much and really just weighed on him that he never recovered from it.

A Gift to the Baptist

He died before the end of the American Revolution; but, he was a strong Christian man, as well as a strong patriot. He was a Baptist, which was pretty unusual in this part of the country at the time. And, he actually gave the land to the Baptist church for them to have their meeting house and their cemetery.

He’s actually buried in that cemetery. Turns out, that’s the first Baptist meeting house that’s built in America for a place of worship.

So, with John Hart, you have a signer of the Declaration who is a great patriot, strong family man, has a great sacrifice that he paid, and he’s a strong man of faith. This is like many of the Founding Fathers.

Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history.

The Reverend James Caldwell was a famous minister during the American War for Independence. His sermons taught liberty and God’s opposition to tyranny.

The British hated him and tried to kill him. So, for his own protection he would actually take loaded pistols with him into the pulpit and lay them beside his Bible as he preached. In the 1780 Battle of Springfield, the Americans ran out of wadding for their guns which was like having no ammunition.

Pastor Caldwell ran inside a nearby church and returned with an armload of Watt Hymnals, the pages of which would provide the much needed wadding. He took this great Bible based hymnal, raised in the air, and shouted to the troops,”Now put to watts into them, boys!.” This pastor’s ingenuity saved the day for the Americans.

For more information or Pastor James Caldwell and other Colonial Patriots go to


TIM:{On the Street}

Can you name anybody that signed the Declaration?


John Hancock.


Exactly. Yes, and who was John Hancock?

He was the president of Congress.


Really? You’re brilliant.




You’re so smart. Do you know anybody else who signed the Declaration?


Benjamin Franklin?


Benjamin Franklin did sign. Okay, so we have two; there’s 54 left. Can you name anybody that signed it?


George Washington?


Was the commander of the military.

[LADY 2:]

George Washington.


That’s a really good guess. He was the commander of the military.

Most Popular Answer: John Hancock





[MAN 2:]



He did.

[MAN 3:]
  1. Dubs, did George Washington do it? Was he involved?


He actually signed the Constitution. Can you name any people that signed it?


John Hancock.


Of course.


Uhmm. Thomas Jefferson


Of course.


John Adams




George Washington. No?


The Constitution.

[WOMAN 2:]



John Hancock. Yeah.

[MAN 4:]

John Hancock.



[MAN 5:]

John Hancock



[MAN 6:]

John Hancock, who was born about 100 yards up the street from here.



[MAN 6:]

You know, Robert Treat Paine. A fella named Fairfield. Uhh, I don”t know if Benji signed it. I”m sure John Adams signed it.




TIM: {On TBN Special Set}

We want to welcome you guys watching today. Welcome the audience. Thank you guys for being here.

Who Was John Hancock?

We’re going to start talking about signers of the Declaration. As we celebrate Fourth of July, probably the most famous signature on the Declaration is this guy who’s up here, John Hancock, right? John Hancock’s a name most people have seen the signature.

Most people have a general understanding of the name; but, probably not a lot about the person or the character. John Hancock was the president of Congress during the Revolution. He was one of the guys who was part of the Sons of Liberty; but, he also became the first governor of the state of Massachusetts.

Under the king, the king appointed all the governors. So, once we separated in 1776, at that point, all the states began electing their own leaders. Well, John Hancock was chosen to be the first governor of Massachusetts.

Thanksgiving Proclamations

And, one of the things he did was a practice actually that goes all the way back to the time of the Pilgrims. And every spring, the Pilgrims would do a day of prayer and fasting, asking for God to send the rain to help grow the crops. Well, every single fall, they would do a Thanksgiving Day to thank God for what He’d done.

Well, John Hancock followed that up. In fact, this is one of the original John Hancock Thanksgiving proclamations. He had 22 different prayer proclamations as governor, calling on people to recognize God, to thank God for His provision, for what He had done for them.

Well, this one is actually a unique Thanksgiving proclamation because in this proclamation, it actually happened–at the bottom it says: “On the eighth day of November in the Year of Our Lord {1780}. “So it’s 1780. What happened that year, prior to this, was actually the revelation of the trader, Benedict Arnold, where they find out that the mission is going on, this plot to overthrow Washington at West Point and really try to end the Revolution.

Well, one of the things he says is, “We are thankful for the watchful Providence in rescuing the person of our Commander in Chief and the army from imminent danger at the moment when treason was ripe and for execution,”on he goes. What’s interesting to me, though, is this isn’t just something that every fall, we have this arbitrary thanksgiving to God. He’s actually noting specific details.

So, even like we would talk about in our life: What can we be thankful for? What has God done for us? He’s literally looking at things happening around him and saying, “We need to thank God for what He is doing.”

Well, that’s what happened in the fall.

Prayer and Fasting


He also has it did that with prayer and fasting. This is one of his “prayer and fasting.” proclamations. You go through, he’s got the state of Massachusetts praying and fasting for specific things.

I mean, that’s what you see in the fasting proclamation as well.


And, this is one of his fasting proclamations. And, this is also interesting to me because not only is he calling them the fast, which certainly is a spiritual thing that Christians are called to do at times, but one of the things he says about this is that, “We need to implore the divine forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.”


Ooo. Now, that sounds Christian.


That’s a big deal because today, everybody knows the name John Hancock, but most people have heard the Founding Fathers were atheists, agnostics, or deists. Well, atheists, agnostics, or deists don’t talk about the fact that we need the “forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior. Not only does he believe in Jesus, he’s saying that we need Jesus in our life and recognizes Him as Savior.

Well, John Hancock is one of those names that certainly is well-known; but, people don’t know a lot about him. One of the cool things we actually have is–there’s been a reprint of a lot of those original prayer proclamations. So, really fun, right?

If parents want to help their kids see some of these old things; or, if you’re a teacher or homeschool parent–but, there’s a lot of these proclamations. And, actually at, you can go and see some of these.

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This is one of the examples from Founding Fathers. There are certainly names we recognize; but, we don’t know much of their story.

A Big Title that says “Sermon”


We don’t know much their story or even the culture back then and what happened; because, as governor of the state of Massachusetts where he issued these 22 proclamations, this is not quite as big as those proclamations. But, right up top, it’s got the big title that says “Sermon.” And then, right under that, it says “John Hancock.”

And, it’s not that he preached a sermon; it is that every year ,the governor, Governor Hancock, would bring in a preacher to preach the entire state government. And so, the lieutenant governor, the House, and the Senate all get together, and that’s how they started every legislative session was with a preacher giving them guidance on {education, taxes, the military, etc. from} the Scriptures. So, there’s a lot of sermons with John Hancock’s name on them because he brought preachers in and had preachers preach, which was a custom in Massachusetts and a lot of the Northeastern colonies.


So, not only was he a guy who was obviously open to faith and religion and doing proclamations as governor, he’s a guy who says, “I want know what the Bible says. I want to pastors come teach me.”

Sam Adams, Father of the Revolution

So, he’s also being mentored by pastors, which is also kind of a cool deal we don’t hear about today. But, John Hancock, again is a name we know, we just don’t always know a lot about him. Another name that is really well-known today is Sam Adams.

Although, probably the reason he’s most known today is probably not really who he was and what he did. What do you know about Sam Adams? What’s the number one thing with the name association?

Alcohol, right. He’s the beer guy. That’s what he’s known as.

Although, he had a different title for four generations. He was known as the “Father of the Revolution.” The reason he was known as the “Father of the Revolution.” was because he was a guy back, earl in the 1770s, he’s already saying, “We need to get the British off our backs. We need some freedom. This tyrannical king.” He is already fighting for freedom on a lot of levels.

The Sons of Liberty

In fact, one of the things that he was very heavily involved in was helping lead the Sons of Liberty. Now, the Sons of Liberty were well-known for things like the Boston Tea Party, which actually–


And, everybody knows what a tea bag is; and, we think in the Boston Tea Party, they threw a bunch of tea bags in the harbor. That’s tea.


This is a tea block. So, on the back you actually can break off a block of it. Then, you would scrape to get the amount of tea you need.

So, the Sons of Liberty dressed up as Indians so as not to identify themselves. Although, I don’t know how well they disguised themselves. Like probably, he took off his shirt, but that’s still Sam Adams, right? {laughter}

Like probably, they still could find you. Nonetheless, they dress up and are throwing blocks of tea into the harbor. Most people have heard of the Boston Tea Party.

Well, Sam Adams and John Hancock were both leaders of the Sons of Liberty. But, Sam Adams is really the guy helping lead a lot of this.

Some New Clothes


And, you mentioned Hancock and Adams together, who were both governors of Massachusetts. But, there’s a big difference between the two guys. I mean, you’ve got them here side by side.

He’s one of the wealthiest guys in America, hands down. Not him. I mean, he is so poor that when he got elected to Continental Congress, he didn’t even have a suit of clothes.

His neighbors got together, took up a collection, and said, “Let’s buy Sam some socks, some new pants, and a shirt since he’s going to Congress.


Yes, literally they said, “He’s our he’s our best speaker, the one that will represent us the best.” But, the only suit he had is what he wore and it holes in it. He had a pair of stockings with holes in it.

So, they took up a collection. His neighbors bought him five pairs of new stockings. They bought him a new suit.

But, then the problem is he’s still got to get from Massachusetts down to where Congress is meeting. So, they actually wrote to his cousin John Adams and said, “Could your cousin borrow a horse?.” Apparently, they didn’t even have a horse in the town they could loan him because they were using them to work on the farms.

A Diverse Group

And so, he has to borrow a horse just to be able to not have to walk to get to the Continental Congress. So, yeah he’s an example of–we often hear today, “Well, they were these really rich white guys.” Well, there were some guys that were rich; but certainly, that’s a stereotype That’s not accurate to all.


Yes, the Founding Fathers really were typical Americans. Some were rich, others were poor. Some were old; others were young.

There were all sorts of denominations among them


Lawyers, doctors, teachers, farmers, across the board.



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August 2, 1776


So, what happens on the Fourth of July is Would Congress approve the Declaration of Independence? But, the copy we see with all their signatures on it wasn’t done until August 2, because they said, “Hey, let’s do a big one we can all sign;.” because, the one on the Fourth of July only has two names on it: the president of Congress and Secretary of Congress.

But then, they did this big one. And, on the day they did that, August 2, this piece is released. And, this is a piece that is done by Sam Adams, attributed to Sam Adams. I’ll just read it to you here.

It says: “An oration delivered at the state house in Philadelphia,” which is where they did the Declaration, “…a very numerous audience on Thursday the 1st of August 1776, by Samuel Adams, member of the general congress.” This is the day before the big Declaration is generally signed. I want to read to you what Sam says here.

What are they saying about this day and about the specialness of the day? He said, “We have this day,” and think of the significance of that day, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and with a propitious eye beholds His subjects, affirming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which he bestowed on them.

“From the rising to the setting of the sun may His kingdom come.”  Pretty powerful statement for what they did on that day and what they were doing at that period of time.

The True Sovereign


Especially recognizing that at that time, the king was generally recognized as being the sovereign, right? Appointed by God, representing God. He says, “No, no. We’ve put the actual Sovereign back in place. That’s Who we’re actually submitting to.”


Well, the other Founding Fathers said that Sam Adams was the most openly Christian of all the Founding Fathers. I mean, he wore it on his sleeve, literally. He was what today we would call an “Evangelical.”

And, people know that he was the “beer guy, “but they don’t know about his faith.


Although, it’s very evident when you see their writings.

Charles Carroll


Yes. Another guy that’s really key among the Founding Fathers is this one. This is Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

Now what’s interesting is he signs the Declaration “Charles Carroll of Carrollton.” And, that’s because there were nine Charles Carrolls living at the time in his area. So, he’s the one from Carrollton; that’s the town and area, this place.

And, this is one of the documents from him.


Friends, we are out of time for today, though we’re not through with our Independence Day celebration. So, let’s make sure that you join us tomorrow for the conclusion of the Independence Day programming that we’ve been having throughout the week. Of course, today was the Independence Day special that David and Tim Barton did for their TBN special; and it’s available online right now if you want to go watch the video.

Or, you can listen to yesterday’s program in our archives section there at, then today’s program, and tomorrow’s. Those three pieces, when you put them together, are the entire program. And, we’ll have it available to you at as always.

WallBuilders Live! Independence Day Special

Also, I want to encourage you, while you’re at, click on that donate button and celebrate July 4th, celebrate our independence and our freedom, by actually doing what the Founding Fathers did: giving of your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor, investing in freedom.

It takes dollars to make this program happen. We are a listener-supported program. And, your contributions, every time, are helping to spread the word. It’s helping to equip and train citizens to preserve liberty.

It helps us train pastors, young leaders, legislators, all these different things we’re doing. It’s because of your help. So, thank you so much for investing in freedom by donating to WallBuilders, right now today, at

Click on that donate button. Let’s celebrate July 4th. Be sure you’re teaching your family this weekend how we became free.

Take some time out of your schedule and your celebration to actually talk about freedom and the importance of being good citizens. We sure appreciate you listening today. We’ll pick up where we left off today with our conclusion tomorrow on our Independence Day special programming.

Thanks for listening to all WallBuilders Live!