July 06, 2010

The Declaration of Independence at the NYPL

Each July, in honor of Independence Day, The New York Public Library delves deep into its storerooms and brings out its unparalleled collection of the documents that are the foundation of this nation. For a limited time, visitors to the Library's main branch can see one of only two surviving "fair copies" of the complete text of the Declaration of Independence as it was submitted to the Continental Congress with Thomas Jefferson's original notes, as well as several very rare printed broadsides that proclaimed the founding of the United States of America to the citizens of the original thirteen states.

Considered one of the world's great documents and the parent of global democratic movements, the Declaration of Independence remains the cornerstone of American civilization and a testament to the vision of the Founding Fathers. Unfortunately the extreme fragility of the paper prevents them from being on full time display as an inspiration and constant reminder of how the country was born and the tenets of freedom, equality and justice that we now take for granted.

Nothing is perfect, but the United States remains a beacon of liberty, opportunity and democracy that we sometimes disregard. On this Fourth of July holiday, let us celebrate the gifts of this land and remember how fortunate we are to live here. And if you are passing by the Library on Fifth Avenue @ 42nd Street, take a moment to go inside and admire the remarkable document that made it all happen. God Bless America.

No comments: