Picture Index: Old Glory, 1776 playbill, map of original 13 colonies, the flag and Statue Of Liberty, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Frank Sinatra and Benjamin Franklin.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776---The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
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.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
— John Hancock
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
FRANK SINATRA'S "The House I Live In".
Track Title: The House I Live InAlbum Title: The Columbia Years, 1943-1952, Vol. 3 Prime Artist: Frank SinatraOriginally made famous by: Earl RobinsonWritten by: Lewis AllenWritten by: Earl Robinson From the Film: The House I Live In 1945 (M)
Lyrics:INTRO: What is America to me? A name, a map, or a flag I see? A certain word, "democracy"? What is America to me? The house I live in, a plot of earth, a streetThe grocer and the butcher, and the people that I meetThe children in the playground, the faces that I seeAll races and religions, that's America to me The place I work in, the worker by my sideThe little town or city where my people lived and diedThe "howdy" and the handshake, the air of feeling freeAnd the right to speak my mind out, that's America to me The things I see about me, the big things and the small The little corner newsstand and the house a mile tall The wedding in the churchyard, the laughter and the tearsThe dream that's been a-growin' for a hundred and fifty years The town I live in, the street, the house, the roomThe pavement of the city, or a garden all in bloomThe church, the school, the clubhouse, the millions lights I see, But especially the people----That's America to me.
THE PLAY 1776
Original stage productionThe original Broadway production of 1776 opened on March 16, 1969 at the 46th Street Theatre (now the Richard Rodgers Theatre) and closed on February 13, 1972 after 1217 performances. In its three year run, it would play in three different theatres: the 46th Street, the St. James Theatre (1970) and, finally, the Majestic Theatre (1971).The show was lauded at the 1969 Tony Awards, where it was nominated for five awards and won three: Best Musical; Best Featured Actor in a Musical (for Ronald Holgate as Richard Henry Lee), and Best Direction of a Musical. It was also nominated for the Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (for Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams) and for Best Scenic Design. 1776 also won the 1969 Theatre World Award and two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Book and Outstanding Costume Design.Many members of the original Broadway cast reprised their roles for the film. Both the stage version and the movie feature William Daniels as John Adams, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, and Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin. (Rex Everhart replaced Da Silva on the original Broadway cast album.) Betty Buckley played Martha Jefferson in the original stage production, while that role featured Blythe Danner in the film.This musical was nominated for 5 Tony Awards and won 3.Revival1776 was revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company in 1997, with Brent Spiner as Adams, Pat Hingle as Franklin, and Paul Michael Vallee as Jefferson. It played a limited engagement at the Roundabout's home theatre, the Criterion Center, before transferring to the Gershwin Theatre for a commercial run.The revival was nominated for the Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (for Gregg Edelman as Edward Rutledge). Edelman won a 1998 Drama Desk Award for his work as Rutledge; the show also received Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Direction (Ellis) and Outstanding Actor (Spiner).Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.PlotAlthough it tells the story of what happened at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776 leading up to the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, and it accurately portrays the serious personal and political issues at stake -- frequently in the characters' own words, written by them at the time -- it remains a musical comedy. The play has often been criticized for straining too hard for historical accuracy instead of exercising literary license when that would help the plot or presentation along.
Scene OneMay 8, 1776. Philadelphia. As the Second Continental Congress proceeds with its business, the weather becomes increasingly hot, humid and as unbearable as the irascible Delegate of Massachusetts, John Adams. Each of his proposals on independency have not even been given "the courtesy of open debate." The other delegates, sickened of his constant arguing, implore him, For God's Sake, John, Sit Down. Adams complains that Congress has done nothing in the year-and-a-half in which they've been convened but to Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve. Angered at the latest debate regarding the merits of compensation regarding a dead mule, Adams flees the chamber and reads the latest missive from his darling Abigail, whom he has conjured as a figment of his imagination. She asks that he simply "tell the Congress to declare Independency, then sign your name, get out of there, and hurry home to me." He asks if she's succeeded in his charge to make saltpeter, and she responds by telling him that not only has he neglected to tell them how saltpetre is made, that the women have no intention of doing so until they receive straight pins. Till Then, they pledge their love to each other and Abigail disappears. The delegates tell him, again, to sit down and shut up, and he goes of in search of Dr. Benjamin Franklin
Scene Two Adams finds Franklin sitting for his portrait ("The man's no Botticelli." "And the subject's no Venus."). Adams bemoans the failure of his arguments for Independence, and Franklin reminds him that no colony has ever attempted to break away from its parent country before. He explains that Adams is obnoxious and disliked by the members of Congress, and, perhaps the resolution would have more success if proposed by someone else - someone neither obnoxious nor disliked. Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia, enters. Lee explains that, by the simple heritage of his good name of The Lees of Old Virginia, he is the best man for the job.
Scene Three June 7, 1776. A new delegate from Georgia, Dr. Lyman Hall, enters the Congressional Chamber and is greeted by McNair, the Congressional Custodian. He is introduced to the entering delegates, each of whom enquire of Georgia's stance on Independence. He evades an answer as Franklin and Adams return to the chamber. Adams, who has been uncharacteristically silent while waiting for Lee's return with his resolution from the House of Burgesses, is teased by the other delegates. John Hancock, President of the Congress, and Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress, take their respective places. Hancock gavels the 380th meeting of the Congress to order.Before introducing Hall to the rest of the delegates, Hancock's first order of business is to shut off the store of rum to the delegate from Rhode Island, Stephen Hopkins. Thomson notes that all members of Congress are accounted for save the New Jersey delegation. ("Where is New Jersey?" "Somewhere between New York and Pennsylvania.") Hancock asks Franklin if he knows the reason for their continued absence, as his son, William, is the Royal Governor. Franklin informs Congress that he and his son have stopped speaking due to their differences over the issue of Independence. Hancock asks Thomas Jefferson for the weather report. He announces that it is 87 "very humid degrees", and Jefferson announces that he is leaving for Virgina that night.Thomson receives a communiqué from George Washington, the Commander of the Army of the United Colonies. Washington fears that his exhausted and under-equipped troops will be ineffective at stopping a large force of British soldiers from attacking New York, a move that would separate New England from the other colonies. Colonel Thomas McKean, of Delaware, grumbles that Washington's letters are always gloomy and depressing. Hancock opens the floor to new resolutions, and as Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire is reading a resolution discouraging extravagance, Richard Henry Lee lavishly canters into the chamber. Lee reads his resolution into the record and it is seconded by Adams.Hancock calls for debate on the resolution, and John Dickinson of Pennsylvania moves to indefinitely postpone the question of Independence. George Read, also of Delaware, seconds the motion and the Congress votes on Dickinson's motion. New York abstains, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, and Virginia vote to open debate, while Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia vote for postponement, leaving the deciding vote to Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, who is "in the necessary". ("Rhode Island passes.") He returns in time to vote in favor of debate, stating that he'd "never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about."The most vocal of the delegates state their postions: Dickinson is against revolt and rebellion, but in favor of petitioning King George on their grievances. Adams and Franklin argue that the colonists have not been granted the full rights of Englishmen (Franklin: "Nor would I [object to being called an Englishman], were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull. He's thankful for the honor, but he'd much rather have restored what's rightfully his." Dickinson: "When did you first notice them missing, sir?") and that it is too late for reconciliation - a year has passed since the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Carolina delegates are worried that the rights of the individual states would be subsumed by a strong federation.As the argument between the delegates grows more heated, Caesar Rodney of Delaware, who has cancer, collapses, and Col. McKean offers to take him back home. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina sees the majority swinging in his favor and moves to vote on Independence. Franklin seeks to stall the motion, and asks that the resolution be read allowed again. As Thomson is reading it, the New Jersey delegation arrives, led by Rev. John Witherspoon. He informs the Congress that he has been instructed to vote in favor of Independence. The vote is now six for Independence and six against (with New York's usual abstention), and Adams reminds Hancock of his duty as President to break all ties. Seeing that the resolution might pass, Dickinson moves that any vote for Independence must pass unanimously. His motion is seconded, and the vote produces the same tie, which Hancock breaks by voting for unanimity.The vote for Independence is called again, and Adams calls for a postponement. He expresses the need for time to compose some sort of declaration defining the reasons for Independence. The motion is seconded; during the debate, Jefferson breaks his silence in favor of a declaration "to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent." The vote is called, producing yet another tie. Hancock breaks the tie by voting in favor of postponement, choosing Adams, Franklin, Lee, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York to draft the Declaration. Hancock announces that it must be written, debated, and passed by the beginning of July - a mere three weeks away. Lee declines and Hancock, almost as an afterthought, appoints Jefferson in his place. Hancock adjourns the session as Jefferson complains that he must go home to his wife.The Committee of Five argues about on whom the task of writing the Declaration should devolve (But, Mr. Adams). Franklin suggests that Adams write it, but he declines, reminding Franklin that he is "obnxious and disliked" and that anything he writes is bound to be rejected by the other delegates. Adams suggests Franklin, as he is an acomplished writer and printer. Franklin argues "The things I write are only light extemporanea. I won't put politics on paper; it's a mania. I refuse to use the pen in Pennsylvania." Adams turns to Sherman who claims that he's not a writer at all, declaring "I do not know a participle from a predicate; I'm just a simple cobbler from Connecticut." Livingston, in turn, declines, as he must return to New York to celebrate the birth of his son. Adams finally turns to Jefferson, praises his writing, and quotes a passage of The Necessity for Taking Up Arms, saying "For a man of only thirty-three years, you possess a happy talent of composition and a remarkable felicity of expression." Jefferson still tries to decline, and Adams threatens him with physical force, thrusting the quill into his hand. The other four leave as Jefferson skulks back to his quarters with his pen.
Scene Four A week later. Adams and Franklin visit Jefferson to check on his progress to find that there has, in fact, been none. Jefferson has spent the week moping and lovelorn, but is brightened when his beloved Martha enters. Adams has sent for her, and the two older gentlemen leave them alone.Adams, again, exchanges letters with his wife, Abigail; she wonders why he hasn't sent for her. He asks her to come to Philadelphia, and she declines, informing him that his children are riddled with disease. They pledge each other to be eternally Yours, Yours, Yours.Martha finally opens the shutters, and the two gentlemen ask her how a man as silent as Jefferson won a woman as lovely as she. She tells them that she loves him because He Plays the Violin. The three of them dance, and Jefferson enters to return Martha back to his loft. Franklin and Adams hail the stateliness of the fiddler.
Scene Five June 22, 1776. Congress has reconvened. Delegates read, talk, eat, and sleep in the chamber as various committees are called to deal with Congressional correspondence, counterfeit money, military defeat in Canada, and intrigue. Another letter is received from General Washington. He reports that the troops are in a sad state, afflicted with venereal disease and alcoholism. He implores the Congress to send a War Committee to New Jersey to boost morale. As Adams, Franklin, and Samuel Chase leave for New Jersey ("Wake up, Franklin! You're going to New Brunswick!" "Like hell I am! What for?" "The whoring and the drinking!"), the delegates in favor of Independence also leave. Dickinson and the Conservatives dance a minuet and sing of their caution, their desire to hold onto their wealth ("Don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.") and remain Cool, Cool Considerate Men.The delegates depart, leaving McNair, the courier and a workman in the Chamber. The workman asks the courier from Massachusetts if he's seen any fighting, and the courier replies that his two closest friends were killed on the same day. He sings the stirring Momma, Look Sharp.
Scene Six Jefferson is outside the chamber as Hancock orders Thomson to read the Declaration. Adams and Franklin enter and congratulate Jefferson on the excellence of the document, and Franklin compares the creation of this new country to The Egg. This leads the trio to debate which bird is coming out of its shell and, thus, the symbol of America. Jefferson proposes the dove, a symbol of peace. Franklin suggests the turkey, a symbol of independence. The three settle on the eagle, as suggested by Adams.
Scene Seven June 28, 1776. Hancock asks if there are any amendments, deletions, or alterations to be offered to the Declaration. McKean suggests removal of the word "Scottish" from a sentence referring to the foreign mercenaries used by the British. Rev. Witherspoon suggests the addition of the phrase "Divine Providence". Days pass. The debate becomes more heated. Bartlett wants to confine the complaints against the British to disagreements with King George, while Sherman wants to remove all mention of Parliament. Jefferson acquiesces to each recommendation, until Dickinson suggests the removal of a phrase calling the king a tyrant. Jefferson refuses, "The King is a tyrant whether we say so or not. We might as well say so."Hancock is about to call for a vote on the Declaration, when Rutledge objects to Jefferson's renunciation of slavery in his list of redresses. Rutledge defends slavery as a necessary evil in the way of life in South Carolina, and reminds Jefferson that he, too, is a slaveholder. Jefferson announces that he has decided to free his slaves, and Rutledge accuses the Northern Colonies of hyprocisy: the nothern shippers get rich off of the trade of slaves. He reminds them that the process of Molasses to Rum to slaves is ensuring prosperity for the north. The delegations of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia angrily leave the chamber. Without them, Independence cannot be declared.Chase rushes into the Chamber, excited that the Maryland Assembly has decided to accept the Lee Resolution, as Dickinson and four other delegates leave the Chamber. Adams is desperate: he sends McKean to Delaware to bring back Rodney. Franklin sagely insists that Adams and Jefferson agree to the removal of the slavery clause from the Declaration. What good is it to win the battle only to lose the war?During their exchange, McNair delivers two kegs to the Chamber. ("What's in them? Who sent them?") Abigail sings, "Compliments of the Concord Lady's Coffee Club, and the Sisterhood of the Truro Synagogue, and the Friday Evening Baptist Sewing Circle, and the Holy Christian Sisters of St. Claire: all for you, John. I am as I ever was, and ever shall be, Yours, Yours, Yours!" John asks, "Abigail, what is it?" to which Abby belts out, "Saltpetre, John!"Adams' faith in the cause renewed, he tells Franklin and Jefferson to talk to all of the wavering delegates: they need each and every vote. Thomson reads the latest dispatch from General Washington, who wonders if he's ever to receive a response to his last fifteen missives. They leave Adams alone in the chamber. Adams echoes Washington's words, Is Anybody There? Discouraged but determined, Adams sings of his vision of his new country: "Yet, through all the gloom, I see the rays of ravishing light and glory!"Hall returns and says to Adams, "In trying to resolve my dilemma I remembered something I'd once read, 'that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgement, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.' It was written by Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament." He walks over to the tally board and changes Georgia's vote from "nay" to "yea".The other delegates slowly make their way back into the Chamber, including Caesar Rodney. Hancock calls for the vote on the Lee Resolution. Thomson calls on each delegation for their vote. Pennsylvania passes on the first call, but the rest of the nothern and middle colonies (save New York) vote "yea". When the vote devolves to South Carolina, Rutledge demands the removal of the slavery clause as the condition of the yea votes from the Carolinas. Franklin pleads with Adams to remove the clause, and Adams turns to Jefferson. Jefferson rises, crosses the Chamber, and scratches out the clause himself. The Carolinas vote "yea".When Pennsylvania's vote is called again, the three delegates, Dickinson, Franklin, and James Wilson, are unable to agree. Franklin asks Hancock to poll the delegation: Franklin votes "yea", Dickinson "nay", leaving the swing vote to Wilson, who normally votes the same way as Dickinson. He says, "I'm different from most of the men here. I don't want to be remembered. I don't want to be remembered as the man who prevented American Independence," and votes "yea".Hancock asks that only men who will be signing the Declaration be seated in Congress. Still hoping for a reconciliation with England, Dickinson announces that he cannot sign the Declaration, but, instead, will join the army to fight for and defend the new nation. Adams leads the Congress in a salute to the man as he leaves the Chamber.Hancock leads the delegates signing the Declaration, but is interrupted by the courier with another dispatch from Washington. He reports that preparations for the Battle of New York are underway, but expresses concern about America's badly outnumbered and under-trained troops.On the evening of July 4, 1776, McNair rings the Liberty Bell in the background as Thomson calls each of the delegates to sign their name to the Declaration of Independence.