What went through their minds - the founding fathers I mean. If we buy a house or a car, there is that closing ceremony where it feels you sign your life away (the grocery store check out of late feels that way too) but when these folks signed, it was treason against the king and as Ben Franklin said, "We must certainly hang together or we will surely hang separately". I look at the gaggle of geese in Washington nowadays and doubt very much that any one of them would risk anything at all let alone life and liberty when they vote aye or nay.
The measure of a person is what they do when faced with extraordinary circumstances..mothers saving drowning children, firemen racing into burning buildings - you know what I mean. How about politicians acting as if their very lives depended on it. Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create, is still intact.