The Lee Resolution was the formal assertion passed by the Second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776 which declared the establishment of a new country of United Colonies as independent from the British Empire, creating what became the United States of America. News of this act was published that evening in the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the next day in the Pennsylvania Gazette; the text of the document formally announcing this action was the Declaration of Independence, approved two days on July 4, 1776, celebrated as Independence Day. The resolution is named for Richard Henry Lee of Virginia who proposed it to Congress after receiving instructions from the Virginia Convention and its President Edmund Pendleton. Lee's full resolution had three parts which were considered by Congress on June 7, 1776. Along with the independence issue, it proposed to establish a plan for ensuing American foreign relations, to prepare a plan of a confederation for the states to consider. Congress decided to address each of these three parts separately.
Some sources indicate that Lee used the language from the Virginia Convention's instructions verbatim. Voting was delayed for several weeks on the first part of the resolution while state support and legislative instruction for independence were consolidated, but the press of events forced the other less-discussed parts to proceed immediately. On June 10, Congress decided to form a committee to draft a declaration of independence in case the resolution should pass. On June 11, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston were appointed as the Committee of Five to accomplish this; that same day, Congress decided to establish two other committees to develop the resolution's last two parts. The following day, another committee of five was established to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers; the committee appointed to prepare a plan of treaties made its first report on July 18 in the writing of John Adams. A limited printing of the document was authorized, it was reviewed and amended by Congress over the next five weeks.
On August 27, the amended plan of treaties was referred back to the committee to develop instructions concerning the amendments, Richard Henry Lee and James Wilson were added to the committee. Two days the committee was empowered to prepare further instructions and report back to Congress; the formal version of the plan of treaties was adopted on September 17. On September 24, Congress approved negotiating instructions for commissioners to obtain a treaty with France, based on the template provided in the plan of treaties. Alliance with France was considered vital if the war with England was to be won and the newly declared country was to survive; the committee drafting a plan of confederation was chaired by John Dickinson. Long debates followed on such issues as sovereignty, the exact powers to be given the confederate government, whether to have a judiciary, voting procedures; the final draft of the Articles of Confederation was prepared during the summer of 1777 and approved by Congress for ratification by the individual states on November 15, 1777, after a year of debate.
It continued in use from that time onward, although it was not ratified by all states until four years on March 1, 1781. When the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, few colonists in British North America advocated independence from Great Britain. Support for independence grew in 1776 after the publication of Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense in January of that year. In the Second Continental Congress, the movement towards independence was guided principally by an informal alliance of delegates known as the "Adams-Lee Junto", after Samuel Adams and John Adams of Massachusetts and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. On May 15, 1776, the revolutionary Virginia Convention meeting in Williamsburg, passed a resolution instructing Virginia's delegates in the Continental Congress "to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain". In accordance with those instructions, on June 7, Richard Henry Lee proposed the resolution to Congress and it was seconded by John Adams.
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, ought to be 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. Congress as a whole was not yet ready to declare independence at that moment, because the delegates from some of the colonies, including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, had not yet been authorized to vote for independence. Voting on the first clause of Lee's resolution was therefore postponed for three weeks while advocates of independence worked to build support in the colonial governments for the resolution. Meanwhile, a Committee of Five was appointed to prepare a formal declaration so that it would be ready when
George Washington was an American political leader, military general and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government, he has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was named a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Commanding General of the nation's Continental Army. Washington allied with France, in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Once victory for the United States was in hand in 1783, Washington resigned his commission. Washington played a key role in the adoption and ratification of the Constitution and was elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections.
He implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty, he set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "President of the United States", his Farewell Address is regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism. Washington utilized slave labor and trading African American slaves, but he became troubled with the institution of slavery and freed them in his 1799 will, he was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, he urged tolerance for all religions in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." He has been memorialized by monuments, geographical locations and currency, many scholars and polls rank him among the top American presidents. Washington's great-grandfather John Washington immigrated in 1656 from Sulgrave, England to the British Colony of Virginia where he accumulated 5,000 acres of land, including Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River.
George Washington was born February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County and was the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father was a justice of the peace and a prominent public figure who had three additional children from his first marriage to Jane Butler; the family moved to Little Hunting Creek to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia. When Augustine died in 1743, Washington inherited ten slaves. Washington did not have the formal education that his older brothers received at Appleby Grammar School in England, but he did learn mathematics and surveying, he was talented in draftsmanship and map-making. By early adulthood, he was writing with "considerable force" and "precision."Washington visited Mount Vernon and Belvoir, the plantation that belonged to Lawrence's father-in-law William Fairfax, which fueled ambition for the lifestyle of the planter aristocracy. Fairfax became Washington's patron and surrogate father, Washington spent a month in 1748 with a team surveying Fairfax's Shenandoah Valley property.
He received a surveyor's license the following year from the College of Mary. He resigned from the job in 1750 and had bought 1,500 acres in the Valley, he owned 2,315 acres by 1752. In 1751, Washington made his only trip abroad when he accompanied Lawrence to Barbados, hoping that the climate would cure his brother's tuberculosis. Washington contracted smallpox during that trip, which immunized him but left his face scarred. Lawrence died in 1752, Washington leased Mount Vernon from his widow. Lawrence's service as adjutant general of the Virginia militia inspired Washington to seek a commission, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him as a major in December 1752 and as commander of one of the four militia districts; the British and French were competing for control of the Ohio Valley at the time, the British building forts along the Ohio River and the French doing between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. In October 1753, Dinwiddie appointed Washington as a special envoy to demand that the French vacate territory which the British had claimed.
Dinwiddie appointed him to make peace with the Iroquois Confederacy and to gather intelligence about the French forces. Washington met with Half-King Tanacharison and other Iroquois chiefs at Logstown to secure their promise of support against the French, his party reached the Ohio River in November, they were intercepted by a French patrol and escorted to Fort Le Boeuf where Washington was received in a friendly manner. He delivered the British demand to vacate to French commander Saint-Pierre, but the French refused to leave. Saint-Pierre gave Washington his official answer in a sealed envelope after a few days' delay, he gave Washington's party food and extra winter clothing for the trip back to Virginia. Washington completed the precarious mission in 77 days in difficult winter conditions and achieved a measure of distinction when his report was published in Virginia and London. In February 1754, Dinwiddie promoted Washington to lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the 300-strong Virginia R
United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America; the declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes; the Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.
The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms, it was published as the printed Dunlap broadside, distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress; the best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy, displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. and, popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed on August 2; the sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution, its original purpose was to announce independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since it has become a well-known statement on human rights its second sentence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness; this has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
The passage came to represent a moral standard. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted; the Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa and Oceania during the first half of the 19th century. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose. By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.
Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire. Many colonists, had developed a different conception of the empire; the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament's authority in the colonies; the orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional. In the colonies, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not Parliament.
After the Townshend Acts, some essayists began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all. Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth, by 1774 American writers such as
Thomas Heyward Jr.
Thomas Heyward Jr. was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina. He was born in St. Luke's Parish, South Carolina and educated at home traveled to England to study law where he was a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, he was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Heyward returned to South Carolina in 1778 to serve as a judge. In command of a militia force, he was taken prisoner by the British during the siege of Charleston, he continued to serve as a judge after the war, retiring from the bench in 1798. He is buried at Old House Plantation near Jasper County, South Carolina, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Located in Ridgeland, South Carolina, there is a school named after him called Thomas Heyward Academy, their nickname is the colors are maroon and white. Heyward was married twice, at age 26 and at age 40, each wife was named Elizabeth.
The first Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John and Sarah Gibbes Mathews, born 1753, whose brother, was Governor of South Carolina, died in childbirth in 1782 in Philadelphia, where she had gone to be with him upon his release as a prisoner of war, she is buried there in St. Peter's Episcopal Church yard, they had six children, but only one son, survived childhood. The second Elizabeth, 1769-1833, daughter of Col. Thomas and Mary Elliott Savage of Charleston, S. C. had three children to live to adulthood, Thomas and Elizabeth. There are a number of descendants today in the 21st century surviving his four children. Notable descendants include DuBose Heyward, whose novel and stage play Porgy portrayed blacks without condescension, was transformed by George Gerswhin into the popular opera Porgy and Bess, an American musical masterpiece. On August 27, 1780, Heyward was taken from his Charleston home by British troops and detained in the Old Exchange Building. Just hours after being arrested, he and 28 other "ringleaders of the rebellion" were relocated to a guard ship in the harbor.
On September 4, they were transported to St. Augustine and remained there for about 11 months until they were freed in a prisoner exchange. United States Congress. "Thomas Heyward Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, "Thomas Heyward Jr.", in Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, New York: William Reed & Co. 1856, pp. 440–443 Thomas Heyward Jr. at Find a Grave
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816, they appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution. The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britain as well as opposition to Revolutionary France; the party controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the Democratic-Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party came into being between 1792 and 1794 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton's fiscal policies; these supporters developed into the organized Federalist Party, committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government.
The only Federalist President was John Adams. George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained non-partisan during his entire presidency. Federalist policies called for a national bank and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the Jay Treaty negotiated in 1794. Hamilton developed the concept of implied powers and argued the adoption of that interpretation of the United States Constitution, their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson, denounced most of the Federalist policies the bank and implied powers. The Jay Treaty passed and the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s, they held a strong base in New England. After the Democratic-Republicans, whose base was in the rural South, won the hard-fought presidential election of 1800, the Federalists never returned to power, they recovered some strength through their intense opposition to the War of 1812, but they vanished during the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the war in 1815.
The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong Federal government with a sound financial base. After losing executive power, they decisively shaped Supreme Court policy for another three decades through the person of Chief Justice John Marshall. On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated New York lawyer Alexander Hamilton to the office of Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton wanted a strong national government with financial credibility. Hamilton proposed the ambitious Hamiltonian economic program that involved assumption of the state debts incurred during the American Revolution, creating a national debt and the means to pay it off and setting up a national bank, along with creating tariffs. James Madison was Hamilton's ally in the fight to ratify the new Constitution, but Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed Hamilton's programs by 1791. Political parties had not been anticipated when the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788 though both Hamilton and Madison played major roles.
Parties were considered to be harmful to republicanism. No similar parties existed anywhere in the world. By 1790, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities, his attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress "brought strong" responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and as the new Federalist Party; the Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported neutrality in the war between Great Britain; the majority of the Founding Fathers were Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists.
These Federalists felt that the Articles of Confederation had been too weak to sustain a working government and had decided that a new form of government was needed. Hamilton was made Secretary of the Treasury and when he came up with the idea of funding the debt he created a split in the original Federalist group. Madison disagreed with Hamilton not just on this issue, but on many others as well and he and John J. Beckley created the Anti-Federalist faction; these men would form the Republican party under Thomas Jefferson. By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party"; the Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were Republican.
However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and been Tories, became Federalists. The Congregationalists of New England and the Episcopalians in the larger cities supported the Federalists while other minority denominations tended toward the Republican camp. Catholics
John Adams was an American statesman, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era. A lawyer and political activist prior to the revolution, Adams was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence, he defied anti-British sentiment and defended British soldiers against murder charges arising from the Boston Massacre. Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a principal leader of the Revolution, he assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress.
As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States' own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. During his single term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy in the undeclared "Quasi-War" with France; the main accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of this conflict in the face of public anger and Hamilton's opposition. During his term, he became the first president to reside in the executive mansion now known as the White House. In his bid for reelection, opposition from Federalists and accusations of despotism from Republicans led to Adams's loss to his former friend Thomas Jefferson, he retired to Massachusetts.
He resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence that lasted fourteen years. He and his wife generated a family of politicians and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, which includes their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. John Adams died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, hours after Jefferson's death. Surveys of historians and scholars have favorably ranked his administration. John Adams was born on October 1735 to John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He had two younger brothers and Elihu. Adams was born on the family farm in Massachusetts, his mother was from a leading medical family of Massachusetts. His father was a deacon in the Congregational Church, a farmer, a cordwainer, a lieutenant in the militia. John Sr. supervised the building of schools and roads. Adams praised his father and recalled their close relationship. Adams's great-grandfather Henry Adams emigrated to Massachusetts from Braintree, England around 1638.
Though raised in modest surroundings, Adams felt pressured to live up to his heritage. His was a family of Puritans, who profoundly affected their region's culture and traditions. By the time of John Adams's birth, Puritan tenets such as predestination had waned and many of their severe practices moderated, but Adams still "considered them bearers of freedom, a cause that still had a holy urgency." Adams recalled that his parents "held every Species of Libertinage in... Contempt and horror," and detailed "pictures of disgrace, or baseness and of Ruin" resulting from any debauchery. Adams noted that "As a child I enjoyed the greatest of blessings that can be bestowed upon men – that of a mother, anxious and capable to form the characters of her children."Adams, as the eldest child, was compelled to obtain a formal education. This began at age six at a dame school for boys and girls, conducted at a teacher's home, was centred upon The New England Primer. Shortly thereafter, Adams attended Braintree Latin School under Joseph Cleverly, where studies included Latin, rhetoric and arithmetic.
Adams's early education included incidents of truancy, a dislike for his master, a desire to become a farmer. All discussion on the matter ended with his father's command that he remain in school: "You shall comply with my desires." Deacon Adams hired a new schoolmaster named Joseph Marsh, his son responded positively. At age sixteen, Adams entered Harvard College in 1751; as an adult, Adams was a keen scholar, studying the works of ancient writers such as Thucydides, Plato and Tacitus in their original languages. Though his father expected him to be a minister, after his 1755 graduation with an A. B. degree, he taught school while pondering his permanent vocation. In the next four years, he began to seek prestige, craving "Honour or Reputation" and "more defference from fellows", was determined to be "a great Man." He decided to become a lawyer to further those ends, writing his father that he found among lawyers "noble and gallant achievements" but, among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces."
His aspirations conflicted with his Puritanism, prompting reservations about his self-described "trumpery" and failure to share the "happiness of fellow men."As the French and Indian War began in 1754, Ada