John Adams - Study Guide Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

David McCullough
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On July 1, 1776, debate over independence began while vigil was being held for New York as the British fleet neared. Adams warned freedom would demand "a great expense of blood." Dickinson made a last appeal for delaying "premature" separation, to which Adams responded with logical and positive exposition of how unborn generations depended on Congress' decision. It was the best, most moving speech of his life and the most powerful and important oration at the Continental Congress. Adams was "the Atlas" of the hour, the sustainer of debate. After a nine-hour debate, a preliminary vote resulted in a majority for independence, but not crucial unanimity, so a final vote was postponed. Deals appear to have been made overnight, and on July 2, two Pennsylvanian opponents voluntarily absented themselves from voting, and New York abstained from voting. The other twelve colonies approved a break with Britain. Adams poured...

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