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Independence Day Special – America’s Hidden History Part One – What is Independence Day all about? Do Americans know why we celebrate the 4th of July? Is there important information being left out of our history books? Who gave us our freedom? What was their faith? How did they sacrifice? Tune in for part one of a special Independence Day broadcast!
Air Date: 07/04/2022
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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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.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, where we’re always talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith and the culture. But we always look at those topics from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
And this week we’re going to do that in a very special way. For the next three days, we’re going to be bringing you a very special program about Independence Day with David and Tim Barton, a TBN special that you can actually watch online as well. But we’re going to bring that to our listeners here at WallBuilders Live because it has such great content to remind us how we got our independence, what that really means, what does it mean to be free and how do we preserve that freedom for future generations. We’re going to dove right into that programing right now.
Now, before we go there, though, I want to encourage you to visit our website today at wallbuilderslive.com, it’s an opportunity for you to see where we’re on all over the country. You can pick out the station closest to you to listen. Or you can go to the archives and listen to some of the past programs from the past few months. And then, most importantly, if you like this program and you want to see more of it, you want to get it in the hands of more citizens to equip and inspire them to preserve liberty, then go to wallbuilderslive.com today, click on that donate button, make your contribution.
What a great way to celebrate our independence by teaming up with us, by partnering with us to preserve that independence to preserve that freedom. You can do that with a donation today. Don’t forget, the Founders gave their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. They had to financially invest in freedom. And today, we do that by engaging in this process and by inspiring and equipping people to be good citizens, to know how to vote, to know what freedom is, to be able to measure candidates according to those freedom principles and then to engage in good government. That’s what we do here at WallBuilders Live as we educate people on how to do that and you can be part of the solution.
Go to that donate button on wallbuilderslive.com, make your donation today as a special July 4th Independence Day celebration. We’re going to be diving into that TV special on Independence Day with David and Tim Barton.
Hi. I’m Tim Barton.
And I’m David Barton.
And we’re here in Philadelphia. Behind us is Independence Hall. This is the place where the Declaration of Independence was actually constructed. When we celebrate the 4th of July, we’re really celebrating the accomplishments from the building right behind us.
This is a birthplace of national freedom. And we’re going to go all across the northeast looking at the stories of those who gave us that freedom. We’re going to look at their faith. We’re going to look at their family. And we’re going to look at their sacrifice. It’s remarkable stories.
This is America’s hidden history.
Modern historians have revised, rewritten and even deleted entire chapters of American history. So what are we missing? What happened to the history that didn’t make the books? Join historian David Barton, Tim Barton and special guests as they uncover the facts some historians don’t want you to know. This is America’s Hidden History.
Behind me is Independence Hall. And this is where the 56 men were together when we did the Declaration. But, you know, today, so few Americans know who actually signed the Declaration, what the Declaration is even about. We thought, let’s just go on the street and find out what do people actually know?
Hey, I’m Tim.
Hi, I’m Susan.
Susan, nice to meet you. Okay, we’re doing a survey on the 4th of July. Why do we celebrate the 4th of July?
We celebrate American.
Great. Nice to meet you, Greg. Okay. What do we celebrate on the 4th of July?
Cool, Great Britain. Slavery is a little later. Hey, man, I’m Tim.
Hi, I’m Nick.
Nick, nice to meet you. What do we celebrate on the 4th of July?
Independence from England. Yeah.
Okay. No, no. It’s really good, though. Many people have not gotten that right. My name’s Tim.
Do you know where the Declaration of Independence was signed?
It was signed in Boston, Massachusetts.
It’s not a bad guess. Do you know where that was done?
No, I don’t. I don’t. I want to say Delaware.
It’s a really good guess.
Nice to meet you.
Oh, goodness. No.
Okay. Do you know where the Declaration was signed?
I do. Pennsylvania.
Yes. Philadelphia. Okay. Yeah, very good.
Hey, Tom. Nice to meet you.
Oh, that’s a really tough one. So if it wasn’t in Quincy, it had to be Philadelphia, huh?
That’s exactly right, Philadelphia.
It was signed in Philadelphia.
Yes. Do you know where in Philadelphia?
Okay. Actually, it was in that building right there.
Oh, okay. This building right here?
So would you ever been there, right? You’re from out of town, you didn’t know that yet, so when you visit that, you to get that right next time. So it’s apparent there’s a lot of things we don’t know about the signing of the Declaration and a lot of things we need to learn. So there’s a lot of ground we’re going to cover today. My dad’s going one direction, I’m going to another. We literally are covering ground, trying to learn and uncover some of these stories. Join us today as we discover this in America’s Hidden History.
Just around the corner from Independence Hall is a small structure known as Carpenters Hall. Carpenters Hall is right behind me. And this is where the Founding Fathers first got together two years before they signed the Declaration of Independence. They met here at Carpenters Hall and they said, alright, what are we going to do? We’re 13 colonies, we’ve been separate states, how do we join together? How do we respond to Great Britain?
And so as they convened to do that, this was new for them because the guys from Georgia had never met the guys from Pennsylvania and the guys from Massachusetts didn’t know the guys from Virginia. I mean this is the first time they get together. So they started the meeting, they opened it up. They convened, make sure they had all the people they needed.
And one of the very first acts they did was they opened with prayer. But it’s not the dinky little prayer like we would use at a city council meeting. This was serious stuff. They went right around the corner to Christ Church and got the Reverend Jacob Duché to come pray. And according to historical records, it looks like that Albany procession ran for about 2 hours. But they didn’t just pray.
When you look at the writings of those who were there, like John Adams, who wrote his wife Abigail, he said that they also studied four chapters of the Bible that morning and that God so spoke to them out of one of those chapters, out of Psalm 35, it changed their whole attitude on what might occur. So this is the starting place of what two years later led to the Declaration of Independence. And it starts with a strong act of prayer and faith.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution, but just felt like man, the classes are boring, or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago, or I don’t know where to start? People want to know, but it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library, where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the Quickstart Guide to the Constitution, because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizen’s guide to America’s constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at wallbuilders.com.
Aaron. Hey. Nice to meet you. What’s your name?
Alexis. Okay. Thank you, guys, for doing this. Do you all know how many people signed the Declaration of Independence?
It’s a little more. Do you know how many people signed the Declaration?
Do you know how many people signed the Declaration?
I’m going to guess 5, 13.
There were 13 colonies, but every colony sent people to sign it.
Several. Yeah, I think a dozen. I’m not sure.
Okay. That’s a good one. That’s probably close to 60.
No. How about, can I guess?
You are so close. Do you know how many people signed the Declaration?
It seems like 56 people.
Okay. Now, we also probably should point out, where are you from?
I’m from Russia.
From Russia, and you already know more than most Americans do. That’s great.
We talked earlier about Carpenter Hall. And at Carpenter Hall, we mentioned that they opened that original session of Congress with prayer, and they did so with the Reverend Jacob Duché of Christchurch coming over to pray. Christchurch is where so many of the founding fathers attended church. As a matter of fact, seven signers of the Declaration were buried here at Christ Church. And one of those signers is Francis Hopkinson, a sign of the Declaration from New Jersey.
Francis In addition to designing an early American flag that didn’t catch on, he also was a federal judge appointed by George Washington. And on top of that, he’s a church music director, he’s a choir leader. He played the organ here at Christ Church. And this is actually him book that he did, is the first handbook in American history to have musical notation in. It is the Book of Psalms. He set the entire book of Psalms to music, and this is the product of a signer of Declaration who is a strong patriot and a strong Christian.
Do you know the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?
The Declaration and the Constitution, I have no clue.
What’s the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?… What’s the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?
Well, isn’t the Declaration about life, liberty and…?
What’s the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?
Well, the Constitution was our own statehood when we separated from England. And the other one was…
But what’s the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?
I mean, I know the Constitution has certain, like, I guess, way of life.
Well, the Declaration came before the Constitution. I know that, it was signed before that. And I think the Constitution was just the official, it seemed like the Declaration was a rough draft.
What’s the difference between the Declaration and the Constitution?
Well, the Declaration of Independence, we became independent from Great Britain. And the Constitution was more of once we were independent, like what our rules and regulations are, our goals were.
Absolute, so it’s how we were incorporated as a government. Okay. Perfect.
We’re in Virginia, which is where the final battle of the American Revolution took place. And this is the home of signer of the Declaration Thomas Nelson Jr. ho was key in that final battle in winning American independence. He was actually one of the younger signers of the Declaration, about 38 years old when he signed the Declaration. But he was a very wealthy man. I mean, this is a very elegant house for that period of time. And he was willing to use his wealth to help advance American independence. And it really cost him a lot of his fortune.
Interestingly, in the early part of the revolution, the British fleet is coming up the Chesapeake and that’s real close here. And they thought that, well, they’re going to attack Virginia. Well, what happened was the fleet went on up to Philadelphia. And so the first part of the revolution is really in the northern states. But by the latter part of the revolution, the British army has come in here toward Yorktown. And at the same time, the American General who became a traitor, Benedict Arnold, he is now switched over to the British, he’s got a fleet of ships and they’re coming up from the other direction. So you’ve got all of the British forces amassing here at Virginia.
And as that’s happening, the call goes out that we need help, we need military, we need troops. We don’t have enough in the Continental Army. You’ve got to remember that at the time of the American Revolution, when you have all these Americans say, hey, let’s take on the British and the British is the greatest power in the world, nobody thought they could win. I mean, we didn’t have our own military. We had a bunch of farmers and shopkeepers and store owners, and we’ll grab our squirrel guns and do what we can. But nobody thought they were going to win, so nobody loaned them any money.
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read. And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History. In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
And so as they’re running short of troops and supplies, one of the calls goes out from the Continental Congress. It says we’re asking young men across the colonies, young men who have any kind of wealth or fortune to start being banker and bankrolling some groups of artillery and groups of Calvary, etc.. And so what young Thomas Nelson did was he got here in Virginia and got a bunch of young men together, and they brought their horses and he bankrolled the entire regiment of Calvary here, came out of his pocket. Well, he did that, and they took that Calvary up and helped washing up north, and then they come back south.
And then as they’re seeing all the British start to converge here, they recognize, you know, the British have got a lot of ships and a lot of fleets and we really need some help. And so they get the French fleet to come. But we’ve got to pay for that. It cost a lot of money. And so Congress went to Thomas Nelson and said, can you see if you can raise several million dollars there in Virginia to help pay for the French fleet to come? And so Thomas Nelson, wealthy, he went to all the folks he knew who had money, everybody said, there’s no way we’re giving money to the American government. These guys won’t win. And so Nelson’s like, well, would you give it to me? Well, yeah, we’ll loan you money. And so Nelson put his own name on the line and got the money that was needed. But he did it personally at his own expense.
So, all of this stuff that he’s pouring in, and by the way, he was so giving in nature that the state early made him the commander and forces of all the military in the state of Virginia. But in working with George Washington, it’s interesting that in the middle of the revolution, as they’re saying things progress and we don’t have funding, but we keep winning battles, George Washington writes Thomas Nelson a letter and he says, Thomas, he said, “The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith and must be more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” In other words, Thomas, if people have seen what you and I have seen here and they don’t feel an obligation to acknowledge God for what he’s doing, they’re just flat wicked. They’ve got no spiritual heart at all. And so that was kind of the tone. They kept seeing God pull all these things off. Thomas Nelson’s house goes back to 1730. So, were surrounded with all these old houses.
And because this is a nice house, guess where the British officers went, they went in the house; a matter of fact, Thomas Nelson thought that General Cornwallis, the commander of the British forces was in his own home because this is where the principal officers were. So it comes time to chase the British out of Yorktown, so the American artillery is out there and they’re just far and away the town trying to get the British out.
And as Nelson is watching all the artillery being fired down on town, he sees all these houses being hit except his own house. And his house is where the British Generals are and nobody’s hitting it. And he goes and ask the artillery guys, how come my house is not getting hit? And I said, Sir, you’re the governor. You’re the one bankrolling, we’re not going to hit your house. He says, yes, you will. You aim at my… No, we’re not going to. So he started offering them money. Every cannon that would hit his house, he would give them money. And so interestingly, he starts bombing his own house and cannonballs went through the wall and killed some of the British and so the British got out of here.
And so here you have a guy who did so much more for the rest of us. And while people today say, oh, those wealthy guys, well, it may be one thing if you keep all your wealth to yourself, but he was willing to sacrifice all of his wealth for the good of the country. And it was really good that he was willing to do that because without what he did to bankroll here the final battle of the revolution, Yorktown, we might never have won the British.
So Thomas Nelson, by the way, like the others you’ve seen here, too, was a strong man of faith. Way back when this thing started back in the Boston Tea Party at the very front end of the revolution, he’s one of the guys who calls for a nationwide day of fasting and prayer. And so he did see God’s assistance often throughout the revolution, strong man of faith. But this is the home of young Thomas Nelson Junior, one of the wealthiest men in the revolution, who was willing to give it all so that we could have freedom.
Now mentioned how the Thomas Nelson was willing to turn the cannons on his own house when he found that they weren’t hitting this house. And here’s part of the evidence right here. You see that nice round pockmark right there, right where a cannonball hit, and it just boom. And you find those pockmarks all over the sides of his house, the evidence that he was turning the cannons on his own house. Matter of fact, when you get over here, you still got a cannonball right there in it.
And the same is true up top, another cannonball right up there. Just all over the side of the house. You have the evidence of his willingness to give his life, his fortune and his sacred honor, which is what he had pledged to do in the Declaration. And this House bears testimony to the fact that he was willing to keep his word. So you’ve seen something of the home and life of Thomas Nelson Jr. It’s interesting to see what his contemporaries and his peers said about him.
For example, this is from James Madison, also a Virginia founder. He said “General Nelson was excelled by no man in the generosity of his nature, in the nobleness of a sentiment, in the purity of his revolutionary principles and in the exalted patriotism that he answered every service and sacrifice that his country might need, Thomas Nelson Jr.”
WORLD WAR II VETERANS
Hey, friends, if you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Once in a while we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices, have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.
One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live from folks that were in the Band of Brothers to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived being Indianapolis, there’s so many other great stories you’ve heard on WallBuilders Live. You have friends and family that also serve.
If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please email us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today wrongly claim our founding fathers were largely atheist agnostics and deist. Certainly, some founders were less religious than others. But even they were not irreligious.
Consider Benjamin Franklin, definitely one of the least religious among them. Yet, when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hit an impasse in their deliberations, it was Franklin who called them to prayer, invoking numerous scriptures to make his point. As he reminded them, “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aide? We have been assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this.”
So, even the least religious of America’s founders urge public prayer and dependence on God. For more information about the faith of the Founding Fathers, go to Wallbuilders.com.
I’m at Princeton University and I’m standing in front of the house where the president of Princeton resides. Now, the reason I’m standing here is because during the founding era, one of the presidents of Princeton was actually a signer of the Declaration, his name was John Witherspoon. This is where he stayed during his term as president. And actually, John Witherspoon was a minister in Scotland. He was recruited by many Founding Fathers to come and be an influencer in America, specifically to come be the president here at Princeton.
Now, when he got here, not only was he the president, he led the theological seminary. He also was the pastor here on campus. He goes on to sign the Declaration. And in the midst of all he’s doing to help promote things in America, to help promote freedom and biblical values, he realizes, you know, a lot of people, even in the state of New Jersey, don’t have their own Bible. So he’s largely responsible for this work right here. It was a Bible done for every family in the state of New Jersey so they could have their own copy of the Bible.
Well, he goes on as a preacher. He continues preaching. This is one of his volumes of sermons. In fact, he had a four volume set, he had a 12 volume set, he had a 15 volume set. He preached a lot of sermons. The reason I point that out, as most people today don’t know the Founding Fathers, but we often hear that they weren’t religious. We have no idea that they were ministers of the gospel who signed the Declaration. Well, there sure were. In fact, they were presidents of universities. And John Witherspoon personally trained more Founding Fathers than any single other individual than any other university. And this is the place where he lived when he was president of Princeton.
We’re in Preston, New Jersey, and this is the home of Richard Stockton. He’s one of the signers of the Declaration from New Jersey. It was one of the most effective attorneys in this part of the state, actually, he was very wealthy, as you can tell from this home. But when he signed the declaration, the British were after him just like they were after the other signers. And so when he believed that the British were coming through this area, he gathered up his family. He took them about 30 miles away to where he thought they’d be safe. But he ended up in the middle of a bunch of loyalists, that is British supporters.
One night they captured him and they turn him over to the British, and the British put him in a prison-ship, that prison-ship he was tortured and he was abused and mistreated and starved. And that prison-ship had been a 64 gun British man of war. But they cut the masts off it, they took the cannons out of it, and they crammed 1200 prisoners down underneath. And he was there with the others. It was horrendous treatment.
When Congress found out about it, they went to George Washington and said, hey, go talk to the British general and see if that’s the way they’re going to treat prisoners. Because if it is, we’ll start treating the British prisoners that way. And the British said, no, no, you can have him back. But when he got back, his library had been burned by the British. He had one of the greatest legal collections in the state. They had taken his horses. They butchered his livestock. He had nothing but desolation when he got back.
And so he’s back and he has six kids. He’s dying. He knows it. And he knows his kids are about to be fatherless. So what do you do? What he did was in his last will and testament, he starts it. He says, “As my children shall have frequent occasion of perusing this document and may wonder as to the beliefs of their father, he then went through and listed all the doctrines of Christianity, all the necessity of living a moral life that’s important in this life. And he just gave fatherly guidance to his kids that are about to be without their father. Great leader, great attorney, he was on the Supreme Court here in New Jersey, but a great story of Richard Stockton.
Alright, friends, we are out of time for today. You’ve been listening to David and Tim Barton talking about Independence Day. This going to be a three day program that we’re bringing to you. You can actually watch the video of this as well. We’ll have links today at wallbuilderslive.com. But what a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day. We encourage you this week, not just to have the cookouts and all the things that we do during Independence Day in July 4th. Do those things. I’m encouraging that you should do that. But we also encourage you to take time to remind yourself how we became free in the first place, teach your children what freedom is all about, and encourage them that when it’s their turn that they would do their part to preserve freedom for future generations.
Tune in tomorrow and the next day, and we’ll get the second and third parts of this very special program about Independence Day. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.