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The Choice for Revolution
The Declaration of Independence
John Adams' Choice

The Signing of the Declaration of IndependenceJohn Adams seconded Richard Henry Lee's motion for independence. In fact, he had already told a loyalist friend that he was determined to "swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country..."

When the Congress debated the motion, Adams rebutted John Dickinson's argument that a break with Great Britain was like trying to survive a "storm in a skiff made of paper." Adams' impassioned speech persuaded other delegates that independence was the best alternative. "He it was who sustained the debate," said New Jersey delegate Richard Stockton, "and by the force of his reasoning demonstrated not only the justice, but the expediency of the measure."

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously approved the Declaration of Independence. In a letter to Abigail the next day, Adams predicted the occasion would "be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America." For Adams and his fellow Americans, that new history was just beginning.

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John & Abigail Adams American Experience

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