It was big news. A store was opening in Salisbury. Daniel and his sisters walked to town almost every day that first week just to smell pickles and peppers in open barrels and stare at hard horehound candy in a glass jar on the shelf behind the counter.
But it wasn't horehounds that Daniel bought with his first pennies. It was a cotton handkerchief decorated with flags and printed on both sides - with the new Constitution of the United States of America.
Daniel's father had gone to the New Hampshire convention. He helped the ninth state to ratify the Constitution and thus to create the United States of America. Daniel showed his handkerchief to everyone but lent it to no one, not even for long enough to wash it. He read it over and over again, and its words influenced him all the rest of his life.
The farm boy who loved books became lawyer, congressman, senator, Secretary of State. In the halls of Congress he debated Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. Before the Supreme Court he argued for freedom from government intrusion for little Dartmouth College. Through every turn in his career, the silver-tongued orator was found always on the same side of every political debate - the side of the United States of America.
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