We owe a lot to this Founding Father for our independence.
You know, celebrating America’s independence should be a week-long celebration because it starts on July 1, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to debate independence from Great Britain.
Delaware only had two of its three delegates at Independence Hall. Caesar Rodney was back in Dover. As Brigadier General he needed to be with the militia to combat Loyalists.
John Adams knew it should be unanimous. However, Delaware’s delegates could not agree. One said yes. One said no.
Delaware needed Rodney’s vote. Congress needed Rodney’s vote.
More importantly, America needed Rodney’s vote.
If you watched HBO’s John Adams you’ll remember that Adams knew they needed Rodney. They needed to win Delaware and couldn’t do it without Rodney.
Adams turned Delaware delegate Thomas McKean and told him to fetch Rodney as soon as possible.
As soon as Rodney heard the news he took action.
It’s something made out of movies. The night of July 1, 1776, was dark and stormy. Rodney was ill. He had asthma and was likely a survivor of cancer. He kept his face hidden with a scarf due to disfigurement.
But still, Rodney jumped on his horse and rode 18 hours over 70-80 miles to Philadelphia through those storms.
Rodney showed up on Independence Hall’s doorstep just as Congress was about to vote on independence. Wet and muddy, exhausted, and still in his boots and spurs, Rodney voted YES for independence.
The John Adams miniseries also portrayed this part. As Congress is voting you see McKean and Rodney coming through the door.
Rodney stands up and says, “Delaware votes yes.” It starts at 1:30, but watch the whole three-minute video. Also, watch the series!
It doesn’t sound like much but what a patriot. I don’t know if any of us have the stamina to make an 18-hour horse ride while ill. Then again, with freedom on the line, we might find that willpower.
Here’s to Caesar Rodney, another Founding Father a lot of us have never heard of.DONATE
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