“One had to be a fool or a fanatic in early January 1776 to advocate American independence.” That is the considered judgment of one of the leading historians of the American Revolution. Meeting in Philadelphia, delegates from the thirteen colonies to the second Continental Congress had been discussing independence for months leading up to January 1776. Some were strong advocates. All delegates were pledged not to reveal the secrets of their conversations outside the doors of Congress. One reason for this was that discussion of independence was dangerous. Independence meant rebellion. Rebellion meant treason. Treason was a capital offense… To continue reading, please click here.