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Lesson One

Reading 8

Resolution of the Continental Congress May 1776

Two British ships sailed up river toward Philadelphia and on May 7 a battle ensued between the ships and batteries along the river. The exploding shells rattled win- dows in Philadelphia and alarmed delegates who had gathered for the meeting of the Continental Congress. The British ships withdrew on May 8. John Adams, on May 10, 1776, taking advantage of the encounter and reporting that mercenaries were marching toward Philadelphia, proposed a radical resolution to the Congress in hopes of forcing Pennsylvania to establish a new government that would vote for independence.

Resolved: That it be recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs have been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and Ameri- cans in general.

Source: David Freeman Hawke, In the Midst of Revolution, The Politics of Confrontation in Colonial America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961), p. 119.

Photograph of the Lights of Liberty Show

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