John Adams Speech to the Second Continental Congress given on Monday, July 1, 1776, Adams. “Adams was the Atlas of the hour, the man to whom the country is more indebted for the great measure of independency…He it was who sustained the debate, and by the force of his reasoning demonstrated not only the justice, but the expediency of the measure.” – New Jersey delegate Richard Stockton
The vote for independence took place the next day, on July 2, 1776,
Text of Speech, pieced together from letters and Adams’ recollections as an old man:
“Measures of the most stupendous magnitude – measures which affect the lives of millions, born and unborn – are now before us. We must expect a great expense of blood and pain, but we must remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing this side of Jerusalem of greater importance to mankind. My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with grace and eloquence, and he has given you a grim prognostication of our nation future, but where he foresees apocalypse, I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world. Not an empire, but a Republic, and a republic of laws, not men.
Gentlemen, we are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of the world. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children.
I am not without apprehensions, gentlemen. But the end we have in sight is more than worth all the means. I believe, Sirs, that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope in this life I am now ready to stake upon it.
While I live, let me have a country. A free country.”
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