Richard Henry Lee finally put Independence on the table… June 7, 1776 during the Second Continental Congress. The shooting had started a year earlier making the second continental gathering all the more important. The delegates in Philadelphia understood the gravity of the situation, but matters at home kept most from expressing their true feelings. As soon as Lee received word of Virginia’s decision to back independence, he presented the resolution to Congress. The motion was quickly seconded by John Adams.
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.
A committee of five was assembled… to draft a formal declaration for when all the delegates were prepared to vote on independence. The members of the committee were Roger Sherman, Roger Livingston, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson…..