Posted by J. Lee
“The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha in the history of America. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
–John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
Acting under the instruction of the Virginia Convention, Richard Lee introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress. The date was June 7th 1776. This was the boldest resolution ever conceived in American history…. Richard Lee proposed independence for the colonies and thus the United States of America was born.
The Lee Resolution contained three parts: a declaration of independence, a call to form foreign alliances, and “a plan for confederation.”
On June 11, 1776, the Congress appointed three concurrent committees in response to the Lee Resolution: one to draft a declaration of independence, a second to draw up a plan “for forming foreign alliances,” and a third to “prepare and digest the form of a confederation.” Lee declined to write the declaration of independence as this was thought only a formality compared to the resolution and it was deligated to his friend Thomas Jefferson with Lee’s oversight and guidance.
Because many members of the Congress believed this action to be premature or wanted instructions from their colonies before voting, approval was deferred until July 2. On that date, Congress adopted the first part (the declaration). The affirmative votes of 12 colonies were signed first. New York cast a no vote until the newly elected New York Convention upheld the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776. The plan for making treaties was not approved until September of 1776; the plan of confederation was delayed until November of 1777.