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Friday, 04 December, 2020

The Road Toward Independence (part one of two)

Date: 01 July, 2010

By: Chief

Imageirst off — thank you Richard Henry Lee.

And thank you to the sovereign colony of Virginia as well. For if it were not for the Virginia House of Burgesses — Richard Henry Lee would not have received the instructions he did and things may have turned out quite differently.


Ahh, Independence day is rapidly approaching and We the People are getting ready to celebrate our political divorce from England with:

Yes, the Fourth of July is truly a unique and very special holiday for We the People. And it should be. After all, our Declaration of Independence was adopted that fateful day.

The Lee Resolution

There does exist a document which — believe it or not — supersedes our glorious Declaration of Independence. Yes, it is true. It was titled the "Resolution of Independence" or the "Lee Resolution." So named after the man that drafted and submitted it — Richard Henry Lee. Congressional delegate from the "oldest colony in America" ("The Lees of Old Virginia" from the movie musical 1776). Here is a link to the You Tube video of the scene. Though historically inaccurate it is a lot of fun nonetheless.

Now au contraire to the movie what actually transpired was, quoting Wikipedia:

"On May 15, 1776, the revolutionary Virginia Convention, then meeting in Williamsburg, passed a resolution instructing Virginia's delegates in the Continental Congress 'to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain'. In accordance with those instructions, on June 7, Richard Henry Lee presented the resolution to Congress. The resolution, seconded by John Adams, had three parts[.]"

So here for your edification, enlightenment and complete enjoyment is the Lee Resolution:

"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

"That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

"That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation."

Now attend — as friend to friend — the first part of Lee's Resolution is contained in the final paragraph of the adopted Declaration of Independence. Pretty cool says I.

The vote

So pray tell, when was the vote held Lee's Resolution on Independence? On the Second of July, 1776. Not on the Fourth. Here is a large image of the actual resolution (if you look toward the bottom right you shall see who voted and how).

It appears the vote was delayed, from the 7th of June to the beginning of July, in order to:

It is quite interesting that the two most important votes by the Second Continental Congress (and perhaps by all the Congresses) were held a mere two days apart. It is funny how things like that work out.

So why the Declaration?

To me there were two distinct reasons:

It has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson the following reason for the Declaration:

"To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent" (from the movie musical 1776).

Moving right along on 11 June, 1776, a Committee of Five members of the Second Continental Congress were chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence and to subsequently present it before the Congress (operating as a "committee of the whole"). The committees membership was made up of:

The great Thomas Jefferson, as you know, wrote the original draft of the Declaration. How it was edited, prior to presentation to the Second Continental Congress, is unknown as the committee left no minutes.

Then on the 28th of June, 1776, the committee presented the complete and edited draft of what would become, in my not so humble opinion, the single most important document in all of human history. This draft was titled:

"A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled."

After its introduction Congress then ordered it to 'lie on the table'. The reason for this was to allow Congress, first as a committee of the whole and then as the Congress, time to debate and then ultimately vote on Lee's Resolution.

Subsequent to the unanimous vote adopting Lee's Resolution for independence, with the exception of:

Congress then turned its attention to the draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Continue on to part two.

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