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Birth of a Nation
John Adams' July 3, 1776 letter to his wife

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John Adams A year after the first shots were fired in anger, the American colonies had finally given up on achieving a resolution to their grievances against Britain while remaining a part of the empire. Instead, Congress authorized Thomas Jefferson and his small group to draft a Declaration of Independence for congressional approval.

On July 2, 1776, while the actual Declaration was still undergoing modification, Congress unanimously voted for independence. Among the four delegates representing the Massachusetts colony was Boston lawyer and future president John Adams, cousin of fellow patriot Samuel Adams.

The following day, Adams penned a letter to his wife, Abigail, explaining what had just taken place, along with both his hopes and fears. It's a short but rare insight into the feelings that must have coursed through the veins of every patriot that day, a future both bright and fearsome.

To put Adams' letter into perspective, add to the mix a portion of the letter from Abigail to her husband on the same subject, written several months earlier, on March 31st:

"In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."

And you thought that all John Adams had to worry about was the British!



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Birth of a Nation
John Adams' July 3, 1776 letter to his wife
Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which other States may rightfully do." You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. A plan of confederation will be taken up in a few days.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory, I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.

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