Benjamin Martin: May I sit with you?
Charlotte Selton: It's a free country. Or at least it will be.
Tara Ross notes that yesterday in 1776, Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution to the Continental Congress proposing that the colonies separate from Great Britain. Virginia legislators had been sensing that America was in 'a state of extreme danger' and concluded that they should either a) completely submit to the will of the British tyrants, or b) break away from Crown rule.
Once the Virginia legislature had written its resolution, Lee forwarded it to John Adams of Massachusetts. Adams received it warmly and with some amazement, as he knew that other colonies were coming to similar conclusions.
In fact, Adams would later suggest that the fact that people in various states came to the same realization at the same time was no accident. It had to be the hand of Divine Providence that was guiding America toward liberty.
A more secular view might suggest that people in the various colonies were merely being driven by the same natural laws to throw off tyranny in favor of freedom.
In any event, after Lee presented the Virginia resolution to the Continental Congress, declaring that 'these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states," Adams seconded the motion.
A few days later three committees were appointed. One was to draft a declaration of independence, a second was to draft a plan for a confederation of the several states, and a third was to prepare a plan for allying with foreign nations. Meanwhile, delegates headed home to meet with their state legislatures and deliberate their authority to declare independence.
Less than a month later, our First Law was passed.