“Americans had been discussing independence for years, with increasing urgency since the battles of Lexington and Concord . . . but actually to resolve upon independence was an intimidating step.”


By July 1776, American revolutionary John Dickinson maintained that he did not entertain any doubt whether America should declare independence, only when. He opposed, in his words, “only the time of the declaration, and not independence itself.” His reasons for this opposition were weighty, well-considered, and shared by many. For one last time, he presented those reasons to his fellow delegates in the Continental Congress.