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Remembering John Adams’ Support of the Declaration of Independence

Remembering John Adams’ Support of the Declaration of Independence

“While I live, let me have a country, a free country!”

Thomas Jefferson rightly receives the lionshare of credit for writing the Declaration of Independence, though he wasn’t the only founder who had a hand in its creation.

Following the introduction and debate of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution to dissolve ties with Great Britain, the Second Continental Congress appointed a Committee of Five — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson — to write the Declaration during the Congressional recess.

Later, Jefferson wrote of the Committee:

“unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draught [sic]. I consented; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee I communicated it separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections. . . I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress.”

Staunchly in favor of independence, Adams gave an one of many impassioned speeches on July 1, when Congress reconvened. The following is the Adams’ speech as Daniel Webster imagined it:

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July 2, Lee’s Resolution was was adopted. Two days later, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration.

It wasn’t until October 31 that King George III acknowledged the Declaration.

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Uhhh … this is an imaginary speech, one Dan’l Webster thought Adams would/could/might have made in response to a more cautionary speech by John Hancock. Which explains why it sounds, stylistically, far more 1820s than 1770s.

Jefferson and Adams both died on the Fourth, by remarkable coincidence fifty years to the day after THE Fourth. Public interest in whether both men would make it to THE DAY was intense, and, naturally, the orators of the era had to get in on it.

I was introduced to the musical 1776 last year on another blog… it’s now a regular holiday weekend viewing for me.

    RodFC in reply to malclave. | July 5, 2016 at 12:56 am

    I love the last part where they sign the document. The weight of it strikes you.

    Also when the page is surprised when he announces the passage.

    But I also like the more historical version, this playlist:

    Liberty! which first appeared on PBS.

    Two things that have always struck me about those times.
    How Parliament took a potential friend in Franklin, and turned him into one of their most lethal enemies.

    The second is the view of George Washington. Regular historians view Washington as a very bad general. Military historians view Washington as a military genius.

    Evan3457 in reply to malclave. | July 5, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Have it on DVD; watch it every July 4th. I know it’s not history;far from it. But it still rings true to me. Maybe I like the mythology, I don’t know.

      RodFC in reply to Evan3457. | July 5, 2016 at 7:29 am

      I’ve always wondered if the inalienable/unalienable fight ever took place. Especially since it was first mentioned in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

        RodFC in reply to RodFC. | July 5, 2016 at 8:14 am

        Expounding a bit, I’m not ascribing any historical accuracy to either source, but the fact that both vingetes exists suggests that there is some historical foundation, since I am sure the writers of 1776 were not familiar with TMIAHM.

Franklin told a woman we have a republic if we can keep it. Human nature so easily squanders that which was so dearly paid for. So much for a “free country” that Adams was willing to commit all to make. Maybe a “rebirth of freedom” can happen, but not on the road we are on.