Section 3 - The Famous Quotes
Fasttrack to America's Past
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The quotes, top to bottom:

"I know not what course others may take..."

   These famous lines were spoken by Patrick Henry at a meeting of the Virginia Convention in Richmond in March, 1775.  Henry had long argued for a break with England.  In the speech which ends with these lines, he called for war against the British to protect the rights of the colonies.

2.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

   These are the most well known lines in the Declaration of Independence, and are among the most important lines ever written in the history of mankind.  With these words, the American government was established on a foundation that, in earlier centuries, only dreamers could have imagined would ever become reality.  They remain an inspiration today not only to Americans, but to people around the world.

3.  "We the People of the United States, in order..."   

   This passage is the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which was written in Philadelphia in 1787.  Its opening words, "We the People," testify to the fact that the new form of government continued the ideals of the Revolution.  But the Constitution is also a practical document that creates a careful balancing act among different parts of the governing system.

The pictures, top to bottom:

1.  The Liberty Bell.  It was mounted in the Philadelphia State House (later renamed Independence Hall) and was rung shortly after the Declaration of Independence was approved.  The bell was originally cast in England, then melted and recast in colonial America.  As such, it is a good symbol of the fact that our ideas of liberty are essentially English traditions refined and recast in the Revolutionary years.

2.  A Continental (American) soldier placing gun powder on the pan of his musket, to prepare it for firing.  Muskets of that time were notorious for missing their targets.  Some Americans in the frontier regions had better guns with rifled barrels that were far more accurate.

3.  An early drawing of one side of the Great Seal of the United States.  The Latin words across the bottom declare "A new order for the ages."  (Sometimes it is translated as "A new age now begins.")  The words at the top say "He smiles upon it," expressing the belief that God approves of the new form of government being formed by the 13 states.
   The pyramid, with 13 rows of stone, represents the 13 colonies that have joined together.  The date on the bottom in Roman numerals is 1776.  The other side of the seal shows an eagle and the famous words, "E Pluribus Unum,"  meaning, "Out of many, one."

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2015 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  Illustrations and reading selections appearing in this work are taken from sources in the public domain and from private collections used by permission.  Sources include: the Dover Pictorial Archive, the Library of Congress, The National Archives, The Hart Publishing Co., Corel Corporation and its licensors, Nova Development Corporation and its licensors, and others.  Maps were created or adapted by the author using reference maps from the United States Geological Survey and Cartesia Software.  Please see the home page for this title for more information.