The LEE RESOLUTION (also known as "THE RESOLUTION FOR INDEPENDANCY")
was the formal assertion passed by the
Second Continental Congress
Some sources indicate that Lee used the language from the Virginia
Convention's instructions almost verbatim. Voting on the first part of
the resolution was delayed for several weeks while state support and
legislative instruction for independence were consolidated, but the
press of events forced the other less-discussed parts to proceed
immediately. On June 10, Congress decided to form a committee to draft
a declaration of independence in case the resolution should pass. On
The committee appointed to prepare a plan of treaties made its first
report on July 18, largely in the writing of John Adams. A limited
printing of the document was authorized, and it was reviewed and
amended by Congress over the next five weeks. On August 27, the
amended plan of treaties was referred back to the committee to develop
instructions concerning the amendments, and two additional members
were added to the committee (
Richard Henry Lee
The committee drafting a plan of confederation was chaired by John Dickinson; they presented their initial results to Congress on July 12, 1776. Long debates followed on such issues as sovereignty, the exact powers to be given the confederate government, whether to have a judiciary, and voting procedures. The final draft of the Articles of Confederation was prepared during the summer of 1777 and approved by Congress for ratification by the individual states on November 15, 1777, after a year of debate. It continued in use from that time onward, although was not ratified by all states until March 1, 1781—four years later.
* 1 Towards independence
* 2 Approval and declaration
* 2.1 Congressional journal entries
* 3 Notes * 4 References * 5 External links
American Revolutionary War
On May 15, 1776, the revolutionary
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.
Congress as a whole was not yet ready to declare independence at that
moment, because the delegates from some of the colonies, including
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, had not
yet been authorized to vote for independence. Voting on the first
clause of Lee's resolution was therefore postponed for three weeks
while advocates of independence worked to build support in the
colonial governments for the resolution. Meanwhile, a Committee of
Five was appointed to prepare a formal declaration so that it would be
ready when independence, which almost everyone recognized was now
inevitable, was approved. The committee prepared a declaration of
independence, written primarily by
APPROVAL AND DECLARATION
The declaration was set aside while the resolution of independence
was debated for several days. The vote on the independence section of
the Lee resolution had been postponed until Monday, July 1, when it
was taken up by the Committee of the Whole. At the request of South
Carolina, the resolution was not acted upon until the following day in
the hope of securing unanimity. A trial vote had been tested on the
1st where it was found that
Although it would shortly be outshone by the much more famous
declaration, the Lee Resolution's passage was contemporaneously
reported as the colonies' definitive declaration of independence from
Great Britain. The evening of July 2, the
This day the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES.
The Pennsylvania Gazette followed suit the next day with its own brief report:
CONTINENTAL CONGRESS declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES.
After passing the resolution of independence on July 2, Congress turned its attention to the text of the declaration. Over several days of debate, Congress made a number of alterations to the text, including adding the wording of Lee's resolution of independence to the conclusion. The final text of the declaration was approved by Congress on July 4 and sent off to be printed.
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated Independence Day on July 4, the date the much-publicized Declaration of Independence was approved, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was adopted.
As noted above, the two latter parts of the
CONGRESSIONAL JOURNAL ENTRIES
The following are entries relating to the resolution of independence
and the Declaration of Independence in the Journals of the Continental
Congress, 1774–1789, from
* Friday, June 7, "certain resolutions respecting independency" are moved and seconded; discussion set for Saturday * Saturday, June 8, Congress considers the resolutions but postpones a decision * Monday, June 10, Congress postpones the first part of Lee's resolution for three weeks, and also decides to appoint "a committee to prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution". * Tuesday, June 11, Congress establishes three committees to pursue the three part resolution, and names five members of the first "to prepare the declaration". * Wednesday, June 12, Congress appointments members of the other two committees. One of 13 members to "prepare and digest the form of a confederation", and the other of five members to "prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers". * Friday, June 28, the committee reports its draft of the declaration, which is ordered "To lie on the table." * Monday, July 1, Congress begins "to take into consideration the resolution respecting independency" * Tuesday, July 2, Congress agrees to the resolution, begins to consider the declaration * Wednesday, July 3, further consideration of the declaration * Thursday, July 4, the Declaration of Independence is approved. The text of the Declaration on this day's entry of the published Journal, as well as the list of signatures, is copied from the engrossed version of the Declaration. * Friday, July 12, The committee appointed to prepare articles of confederation delivered their draft, which was read. * Monday, July 15, Congress learns that New York now supports independence * Thursday, July 18, The committee appointed to prepare a plan of treaties to be entered into with foreign states or kingdoms delivered their draft, which was read. * Friday, July 19, Congress orders that the Declaration "be fairly engrossed on parchment" * Friday, August 2, the Declaration of Independence is signed by members of Congress * Tuesday, August 27, The amended plan of treaties was referred back to the committee to develop instructions regarding the amendments made by Congress. The committee size was increased by two members. * Thursday, August 29, the committee for the plan of treaties was empowered to prepare further appropriate instructions, and report back to Congress. * Tuesday, September 17, Congress discussed the amended plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign nations, and passed the plan of a treaty be proposed to His Most Christian Majesty . * Tuesday, September 24, Congress resumed consideration of the instructions to the agent regarding the pursuit of the plan of treaty with France, debated it by paragraph, amended it, and approved it. * Thursday, September 26, 1776 Congress elects three commissioners to the court of France, Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Thomas Jefferson. They also resolve "That secresy shall be observed until the farther Order of Congress; and that until permission be obtained from Congress to disclose the particulars of this business, no member be permitted to say any thing more upon this subject, than that Congress have taken such steps as they judged necessary for the purpose of obtaining foreign Alliance." * Saturday, November 15, 1777, Congress approves the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union for ratification by the individual States.
* ^ Milestones: 1776-1783: The Model Treaty, 1776, Department of
State, Office of the Historian. from archive.org
* ^ Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation: An
Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American
Revolution, 1774–1781. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 127–84.
ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6 .
* ^ Schwarz, Frederic D. (February–March 2006). "225 Years Ago".
* ^ Boyd, Evolution of the Text, 18; Maier, American Scripture, 63.
For text of the May 15
* Boyd, Julian P. The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text. Originally published 1945. Revised edition edited by Gerard W. Gawalt. University Press of New England, 1999. ISBN 0-8444-0980-4 . * Burnett, Edward Cody. The Continental Congress. New York: Norton, 1941. * Hogeland, William. Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent, May 1-July 4, 1776. New York: Simon ISBN 978-1-4165-8409-4 . * Maier, Pauline . American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Knopf, 1997. ISBN 0-679-45492-6 .