If a group of people held an open meeting and this group represented subversive organizations from each state and the purpose of the meeting was to design a method to overthrow the government of the United States; this group would be summarily disbanded and the members arrested and brought to trial for sedition. Two hundred and thirty five years ago this is exactly what happened when the founding fathers of the United States met to throw off the yokes of English rule and declare the thirteen colonies to be free and sovereign. Today we are so conscious about being politically correct and so concerned to speak up for what is right because of fear of retribution, it is hard to imagine the leadership of the men that met in Philadelphia to declare and then publicly sign a document that would surely be used to sentence each signatory to death. This document, The Declaration of Independence, symbolized the strength of character of America that had lead to our growth to become the greatest country in the world. One of the signers of this document was Charles Carol of Maryland. Carol was depicted in the movie “National Treasures” as being the last living signer of the Declaration and the last surviving Mason that held the secret to the vast treasure of the Knights Templar. In fact the only thing factual about this was that he was the last surviving signatory but he could not have held the Masonic secret to the treasure as he was Catholic and could not have been a member of the Masonic Lodge. Carol was born in Maryland and was sent to France to study. This surely affected his early impressions of the English as there was continual animosity between the two countries. Following his education in France he attended law school in London and returned to America. Maryland law was quite explicit when it came to religion. Catholics could not practice law, enter into politics nor vote. Needless to say this would make quit an impression on a young member of the Continental Congress when the subject of separation of church and state was debated. Carol was successful in business and became one of the wealthiest men in Maryland. When he was selected to represent Maryland in the Continental Congress, he had more to lose than the majority of the members. None the less he vocally advocated overthrowing the shackles of King George by the use of force. He was not present for the vote to accept the Declaration of Independence. He was there to sign the document and he did not hesitate to do so. Several members spoke up that there were many Charles Carols in Maryland and it would be easy for the signer to claim it was not him that signed the document if they were arrested and put on trial. He defiantly returned to the Chairman, John Hancock, took the quill pen and added to his name “of Carrolton” to make sure that everyone knew who he was and where he was from. He was vocal on slavery and later put in legislation to abolish it. It would take ninety years before this was realized. This strength of leadership is what helped to build our country. Question is, do we possess this same strength in our government leadership today. Do we have the leaders with the intestinal fortitude to do what is right for the country and are we as Americans willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the nation. So impressive was Charles Carol that many settlements were named in his honor. Our own East Carol and West Carol Parishes bear his name.

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