Continental Congress Votes for Independence 7/2/15

On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress, assembled in Philadelphia, formally adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.

The resolution had originally been presented to Congress on June 7, but it soon became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, though they would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on Lee’s Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote. John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as the most memorable event in the history of America. Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Hancock’s words have been added as the quotation of the day.

29 Responses

  1. Both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 which is an odd coincidence in and of itself.


    • I was just reading through the Declaration, and discovered this among TJ’s list of horribles regarding King George III, the last of his facts to “be submitted to a candid world”:

      He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

      Indian Savages? Forget the Confederate flag. Why has this outrageously offensive document not yet been banned from public view and discussion? Where are the progressive protectors of our vulnerable sensitivities on this crucial issue?


    • McWing:

      “Gay Yard” controversy is apparently a hoax.

      I called it.


  2. I’ve still seen gayer.


  3. Gay Yard: But there was probably some right winger who was thinking it, so it was getting at a deeper truth. She should be lauded as a hero.


    • On Webb:

      An economic populist, he has accused Clinton of coming late to the conversation about excessive chief executive pay

      In what possible way is it the president’s (or any politician’s) concern how much chief executives get paid? And even assuming it is any of his business in the first place, on what standard does Webb determine that someone’s pay is excessive? Does he think A-list movie stars’ pay is “excessive” and is that going to be a part of his “conversation”? If not, why not?


      • The highest paid CEO in the US last year was David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, with $156 million. Number 2 was Michael Fries of Liberty Global coming in at $112 million.

        The highest paid celebrity so far this year is Floyd Mayweather at $300 million. Number two is Manny Pacquiao with $167 million. (Katy Perry was 3rd at $135 million).

        Why would Zaslov’s and Fries’ compensation be a matter of political concern for Webb, but not Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s?

        (BTW, cash compensation for Zaslav and Fries was only $12 million and $16 million respectively. The rest was in stocks and options that only vest over time and can lose their value.)

        Total comp for top 10 CEOs was $745 million. Total comp for top 10 celebs was $1.24 billion.


      • Serious question in a non-political vein: Are top paid CEOs paid too much? This could only be the case if the BoD is captive to management. So the real question is whether top paid CEOs are working for captive boards.

        If we thought that a BoD was a captive of management, the next question would be “how in hell did that happen?”

        If the answer was stockholders didn’t give a shit, I think the matter must be laid to rest. If the answer is that there are structures in place that inhibit information to stockholders, than perhaps various state corporate laws, especially Delaware’s, might need review by a Lege.

        And that is where the only political involvement would be appropriate, IMO.

        Although I think a politician could legitimately call for a study of the question, my sense is that it would only have urgency coming from a concerned major stockholder, like a pension fund, or an insurance company, or perhaps through their state capitol lobbyists.

        BTW, I remember when Ross Perot blew up on the GM Board over this and related issues.


        • Mark:

          And that is where the only political involvement would be appropriate, IMO.

          I agree. But I think we both know that protection of shareholder interest is not why any aspirant to the Oval office would ever bring it up as a campaign matter. It is a purely populist political ploy designed to stoke class resentments.


  4. @scottc1: “Indian Savages? Forget the Confederate flag. Why has this outrageously offensive document not yet been banned from public view and discussion? Where are the progressive protectors of our vulnerable sensitivities on this crucial issue?”

    That’s coming. Don’t think it’s not.


  5. Thanks 52%!


  6. “White House: Don’t forget to defend ObamaCare at #July4 family gatherings

    Blech! Is that what we have to look forward to from subsequent administrations? “Don’t forget to spend your holiday defending our political initiatives, citizens!”


  7. @Scottc1: “Total comp for top 10 CEOs was $745 million. Total comp for top 10 celebs was $1.24 billion.”

    But that’s different. The proletariate loves them, giving them a megaphone different from even the Koch brothers (plus, their megaphone is free, and reaches far more people). They also tend to lean left. And make populist noises on their private jets as they they fly from one $24.5 million dollar house to the other.

    I always loved the “let them eat cake” hubris of private-jet-flying music artists advising me to only use 3 squares of toilet paper on the toilet.


    • So exactly how many squares of TP do you use, wastrel?


      • Wrote this at PL last night and was thoroughly admonished that I was disingenuous, that I failed to understand history, and that I was accepting 1930s revisionism[?].

        Why is there a rush to rewrite history to make the Civil War about slavery? It truly was about federal supremacy. There was no sense that the Union was fighting to abolish slavery at the beginning of the War and it was a hell of a fight to make that an issue during the war. Lincoln did not issue the Emancipation Proclamation for all the slave states – only for the Confederacy.

        However, I was active in the Civil Rights Movement. And by then, states rights had become merely a convenient euphemism for segregation – now and forever. And it was then that the Stars and Bars began flying over southern capitols, not 1870. So we know what states rights has been since WW2; since FDR.

        But let’s not rewrite history about the Civil War. That was about States Rights vs. federal supremacy, and federal supremacy won.


  8. Mark, what if the Confederacy had not blockaded Sumter, or taken up arms, but refused to acknowledge they were part of the Union?

    I think that might’ve worked.

    Might still work.


    • Actually, George, it might have worked for awhile then – no casus belli. But I do not think it would work for long now.


  9. Let’s say a state government, say, Lousiana, continues to refuse to issue Liscenses for gay marriages?


    • IDK. One possibility is to ignore it and see what happens. Another, more likely, is for a couple to seek a mandamus. If a state court grants it, the “problem” is resolved locally. If a federal court grants it, we might see the spectre of US Marshals serving papers and removing recalcitrant clerks to federal lockups. Or if it comes from Jindal, removing him to a federal lockup, I suppose, until he purges himself of contempt.

      Would the LA National Guard be called up and federalized? IDK. Would state troopers shoot at US Marshals? IDK. If the LA NG refused to be federalized, would the Army march out of Ft. Polk and occupy Baton Rouge? IDK.

      All these scenarios seem possible to me. Ike federalized the Arkansas National Guard and they obeyed orders and integrated Little Rock Central HS. So I would guess the NG would obey the POTUS and not the Gov this time too.


  10. Thanks 52%!

    WBHO.. All propaganda, all the time.


  11. @markinaustin: ”
    So exactly how many squares of TP do you use, wastrel?”

    I use a a full roll every time I hit the pot.


  12. @markinaustin: “Are top paid CEOs paid too much?”

    Yes. Are they captive boards, though, or symbiotic? When the CEO is on the board of another company that a given board member is a CEO of or is now or will be in the future financially compensated by, I suspect that works with the thinking as well.

    I suspect sometimes it’s just a case of the buyer not being beware, and a board spending the shareholders money rather than their own. The buy into the idea that this guy or gal is worth that much money, and so agree to pay it. This makes a little more sense when it is to keep someone at the company with a good track record, but frequently its to bring on guys with dubious track records whose signal accomplishment is getting huge paydays and impressive golden parachutes.

    Ultimately, though, it’s up the boards to decide whether or not to pay a single person insane amounts of money for a decision-quality that’s, typically, no better than what would be achieved with a modest decision-making program. The only thing that could make the system worse is getting the government involved. 😉


  13. @markinaustin: “Wrote this at PL last night and was thoroughly admonished that I was disingenuous, that I failed to understand history, and that I was accepting 1930s revisionism[?].”

    I tend to believe that the Civil War was “about” slavery, but that the context of the time makes that mean something far different than I think people feel it means today. That is, while slavery was primarily at issue, the objection was as much about the federal government demanding the states abolish slavery, or the idea that the federal government could or might free the slaves by fiat, as anything else. It wasn’t just a desire to keep black people in bondage because southerners were all horrible people, it was about the idea that the federal government could do such a thing by fiat (or otherwise hamstring the states to make slavery more of a problem). At the same time, many politicians in southern states and wealthy landed gentry were trying to get the federal government to lean on free states to make the recapture of escaped slaves an easier thing, so it was not an entirely principled stand. Then, as now, federalism was acceptable when it benefited you. 😉


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