2009 Essay Contest - Youngest Category

A Daunting Task
by Paul Hartlaub, Wisconsin

As I sat wearily at my writing desk, I thought over the events of the day. The Continental Congress had chosen me, Thomas Jefferson, and four other gentlemen: Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingstone and John Adams, to write a document declaring independence for the colonies. The movement has yet to be voted upon, but men of foresight urged that a document be written in case the delegates approve of independence.

The four other members of our committee decided that I should be the one to write the first draft. I knew how much depended on us to free our country from British tyranny! I knew that our declaration would have to be perfect because of the many critics in London. All of the delegates realized it would have to cover every aspect of independence, lest the king and his ministers should find something to pounce upon.

John Adams and I argued about which of us should write. I had finally acquiesced to John and agreed to pen the first draft. As I started to write, ideas began to flood my mind. Several nights later the document was finished. I breathed a long sigh of relief. All of the other men on the committee who were present approved. Robert Livingstone had gone back to his home in New York and I could not get his approval.

All four of us hope for independence, but if we succeed, will our descendents be able to keep it? Every delegate to congress knows that liberty will only come at a price. My hope and prayer is that we will be willing to pay it! A daunting task remains for our children, grandchildren, and the generations after them – to keep the freedoms that we are willing to die for!
 

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