John Trumbull’s The Declaration of Independence, now called Independence Hall, Philapdelphia, is an oil painting located in the United States Capitol Rotunda. The painting is a vivid depiction of the drafting of the Declaration to Congress. Trumbull had carefully painted similar scenes to the actual Independence Hall and the Chamber where the Second Continental Congress met, where he frequently visited himself to accurately draw up the figures at their current stand. And though Trumbull originally intended to have all 56 signers in the painting, he was unable to achieve the likeness for all of them and resulted with only 42. The painting features John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin standing before John Hancock who was President of the Continental Congress at that time.

As most paintings, Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence, had a few misconceptions of its true meaning. Many mistaken the painting to have been the signing of the Declaration of Independence, however it is merely just the drafting committee presenting to the Declaration of Congress. Another controversial issue presented in Trumbull’s painting was Jefferson’s foot on top of Adam’s highlighting his dominance, which many have come to believe to be symbolic of both parties being political enemies. According to an article by journalist and university professor Gilbert Klein, Malecki has said this to be untrue. There were no real facts supporting such in the painting. He goes on to further explain that in the ‘nearly two centuries it has hung in the rotunda, the painting has been exposed to smoke, dirt, humidity, and the elements. Before modern art preservation, over-painting repaired marred areas. “That changed the shape and appearance of the foot. It does not depict Jefferson standing on Adam’s foot.”’ This part of the painting has been correctly altered on the two-dollar bill.

I’ve never been a true believer of politics. In my opinion, politics is simply a corrupted game of manipulation. But I really should be the last person to speak of it. But what grabbed my attention about Trumbull’s painting was the mere interest in its title, The Declaration of Independence.


It seems all we talk about lately is independence. But do we truly know what it is? According to its definition, independence is the freedom from the outside world without depending on another’s authority. But in blatant honesty, does anybody really believe it exists? Can anyone truly be free from someone else’s demands and control? Keeping aside the corrupted drama the government has around our necks, but on a personal note, is it truly possible for one person to stand solely on his own and be, for the lack of a better word, happy?

In a world confined with desperate desires for superiority and dominance, I don’t believe we’d ever be free. I fear we’d always be shackled by the commands of others, if not within ourselves. To survive this world, we would constantly need to be reliant on someone to do something for us, not because we want them to, but because of our inability to help ourselves. But what if the situation was reversed, and we find ourselves in the state where it was our help that was needed? Our natural response would be an immediate nod. It is far simpler to appear kind than to be kind itself. And I wonder, would we be willing to walk the extra mile for them? And another mile, and another. Perhaps there remain a few in the human race capable of genuine kindness, but how much of this kindness is a real selfless act that bears no expectation in return and no prejudice towards the other? There are those who readily give up a few years to assist those who require a hand, but to have to repeatedly speak out how their lives are on hold as they continue ‘waiting for life to begin’, would it still be right to accept that sort of help? There’s a fine line between accepting help and taking advantage of it. However, to choose to continuously offer to help, it’s not on them if they carry on to accept it; it’s on us for our insincerity.

What does it mean to have someone’s dependency on your hand? Does that no longer make you on a par with everyone else around? To expect yourself to be given importance and preference over others for the mere act of generosity you have shown puts out less parity than the world offers us. People often make it seem they aren’t given a choice, but they are. What they decide not to choose is a choice in itself, and they subconsciously prioritise that which matters most to them, which sides they take, which words they choose to speak, which battles they choose to fight. I don’t truly believe we can so casually declare our independence. But I do believe there is a way to claim independence; it’s just not as pretty as we think it is.

The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves. – Walt Whitman



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