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Michelle Swears in the Oath Ignorant of the Facts

On 18 June 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama attended a ceremony at the National Archives rotunda in Washington, D.C., in which 51 foreign-born immigrants were sworn in as American citizens:

“It’s amazing that just a few feet from here where I’m standing are the signatures of the 56 Founders who put their names on a Declaration that changed the course of history. And like the 50 of you, none of them were born American — they became American."

In Michelle's remarks she noted that the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence — like current immigrants to the U.S. — became Americans rather than being born Americans.

What the First Lady was communicating on this occasion was that the Founding Fathers were not born into a fully formed and established America with its own history, customs, culture, and values, as modern American children are; they were born into a very different world as British subjects in a colonial empire, and they chose to seek new opportunities and lives for themselves - just as modern immigrants born outside America choose to transform their worlds by opting to leave their homelands for the United States and seek new lives through becoming Americans.
So there's the history rewrite: the founding fathers actually are not like today's modern immigrants as they had transformed their world into something distinctive through the establishment of a new nation that made them quite different from any immigrants who followed them later--they established American freedoms that others later were seeking, a Constitutional freedom that the rest of the world has never been offered or ever had in history. 

In a strictly literal sense none of the Founding Fathers was born in the United States of America, because that country did not exist until they brought it into being through their efforts. It is true that many of the Founding Fathers were born in the original thirteen British colonies that later became the United States of America after those colonies jointly declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. Michelle Obama’s remarks did not, however, as implied in the example quoted above, express her ignorance of that fact. 

Michelle Obama turned a flag-waving swearing-in ceremony for 50 new American citizens into a platform to call for action on the long-bogged-down issue of immigration reforms by the Obama administration. 

Who were the 56 signators of the Declaration of Independence?


Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two Lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the revolutionary war.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners who were men of means and educated. They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

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