Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Independence Day comments honoring Roger Sherman

At 9am on Saturday (July 4, 2009) in the Grove Street Cemetary in New Haven, I'll be offering comments based on the following text:

Roger Sherman was born on April 19, 1721 in Newton, Massachusetts and died here in New Haven on July 23, 1793. We are at his grave because if George Washington didn’t have the title “Father of Our Country,” Roger Sherman would certainly qualify for it. He was one of only two Founding Fathers who signed the three bulwark documents of our republic—the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. He also signed the 1774 Articles of Association, making him the only man in history to sign all four of those historic founding documents of our country.

Sherman did more than simply sign the documents, however. He actually helped to create them. More generally, he labored diligently and brilliantly in many ways on behalf of our independence and, later, on behalf of our infant nation. Here are some highlights of his lifetime of achievement.

Sherman was one of Connecticut’s delegates to the first Continental Congress and served on the committee which drafted the Articles of Association calling for boycott of the exportation or importation of trade with Great Britain. He also was one of Connecticut’s delegates to the second Continental Congress and served on the five-man committee which drafted the Declaration of Independence. Later in 1776 he helped to draft the Articles of Confederation and push them through to conclusion.

Although he had no direct military experience, during the Revolutionary War Sherman served on various state and national committees concerned with military matters, such as the board of war and ordnance which directed the war effort, the maritime committee which was concerned with building a navy, and the board of treasury to raise money for war.

In 1787, at age 66, Sherman was one of Connecticut’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention, where he became an active and important member. His name is best known for the “Connecticut Compromise” he proposed which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation in Congress. He also was instrumental in gaining Connecticut’s ratification of the Constitution.

When the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, James Madison suggested incorporating them into the body of the text, but Sherman objected to rewriting it and recommended they be adopted as amendments when they had been ratified. Later, that was done and Sherman was a member of the joint House-Senate conference committee which drew up the final version of the Bill of Rights amendments.

In 1789 Sherman was elected by Connecticut to the new congressional House of Representatives. He was 68, the oldest man in Congress. In 1791, when a Connecticut senator resigned, the legislature elected Sherman to fill the vacancy. He held that post until his death in 1793 at the age of 72.

Sherman’s four-decade career in public life made him familiar with every department of government. He served in local, state and national capacities. Locally, he was a justice of the peace and a judge. He became treasurer of Yale and held that post for many years. When New Haven was chartered as a city in 1784, he was elected the first mayor and ably filled that office with great dignity to the close of his life. He also was a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court and a representative in both houses of the colonial assembly.

Sherman participated in all the trying scenes of the Revolution and in the process of America taking her separate and equal station among the powers of the earth. For prudence, discretion and sound logic, he was unrivaled. His capacity was equal to every emergency. Strong common sense, integrity and faithful service marked his whole career. A plain-spoken, plain-dressed Puritan, his private character was as pure as his public career was illustrious. He was well regarded for his piety and charity. In the estimation of his colleagues, he was second to none among that bright constellation of men who became our Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson described him as “a man who never said a foolish thing in his life.” John Adams described Sherman as “one of the most sensible men in the world. The clearest head and the steadiest heart. Mr. Sherman was one of the soundest and strongest pillars of the revolution.”

Thus lived and died Roger Sherman. And thus we honor him today. God blessed America through Roger Sherman.

I thank my dad for his help with above text.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

To live in a state that was one of the original 13 colonies, we are surrounded by history.
Roger Sherman, importance doesn't seem to be taught in the schools today. He could have been president if he had chosen. I often hear Benedict Arnold's name being associated more with New Haven then Sherman. It is a shame.
I thank you and your father for the concise history lesson. Perhaps some of our teachers can take that and use it in their class rooms.
I was just discussing with my 11 year old daughter how much history is in this area, all she needs to do is look around. Hopefully she will appreciate it when she is older.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Roger Sherman had a blog. Would he complain constantly about how tired he was of opposing views, mocking the people he had to govern and form policy with.

Anonymous said...

Because of Roger Sherman, idiots like you have the freedom of speech!
Roger Sherman also cared about where he lived and wanted to make it better place, the same ideology that Tim has.
Tim could very easily remove your idiotic statements that you continue to leave all over this blog, but he also recognizes your freedom of speech.
Feel lucky that there is a forum to voice your opinion, does any other council member offer that to this town?

Anonymous said...

I think you need to be careful when comparing an actual revolutionist to Tim. Tim offers this blog as a way for him to appear to be more accessable. Once there are 5 posts or one person against Tim, he stops reading.

- 4:09 - The differences between Roger Sherman and Tim White are 1- Sherman was proud to be an American, 2- Sherman physically faught for what is right, 3- Sherman was liked by the masses 4- Sherman had original ideas instead of just repeating what everyone else said.

Anonymous said...

Again, you show your ignorance.
Tim is proud to be an American, what will you be doing on the 4th?
Tim is liked by the masses, otherwise he wouldn't be elected to the council.
Tim fights to make the majority accountable for their actions.

I ask you again, what TC member offers the type of forum that Tim does to the public?
None, you know why? They have their own agendas and don't care what the public thinks. Tim cares!

You really need to get a life and read a little to find out what this current majority is doing to thi town.....November can't come fast enough for any of us.

Anonymous said...

Tim is proud to be an American? Tim drives a foreign car, prefers to vacation & spend money in foreign countries, and wants outsourcing.
Why do you care what I am doing on the 4th?
I would guess the other council members don't have a blog because they are busy with other important things like running businesses and raising a family.

Anonymous said...

If 7:11 and 6:21 are examples of the types of personal and specious attacks Tim will face in November, he should be re-elected pretty easily.

tim white said...

"the other council members don't have a blog because they are busy with other important things"

What's important to you?

Anonymous said...

I love having a battle of wit with an unarmed person.
I ask what you are doing on the 4th because Tim is speaking at Grove St. about Roger Sherman, I am sure many "un-Americans" will be doing the same.
As for driving a foreign car, many of them are being made in the US, and I don't really think that makes one un-American.
As for traveling out of the US, my God, who doesn't want to get some culture in their lives...oops, sorry, you don't. He didn't say he was moving there.
I would rather have someone informing me on what is going on then being too busy to care.
I agree, if you are the competition, it should be an easy election for Tim.
Happy 4th!

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>>I thank my dad....

You Tim White, have a really cool father.

Give him my respects won't you?