The Resolution for Independancy

Agreed to July 2. 1776

Richard Henry Lee

Also available in .txt and .jpg.

On 2 July 1776, the former American colonies of Great Britain seceded from Great Britain, and became independent countries.

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia formerly proposed independence on 7 June 1776, and his resolution was immediately seconded by John Adams of Massachusetts.  The Second Continental Congress decided to delay a vote on the first clause of Lee’s resolution until the first of July.

When a vote was finally conducted on the second of July, twelve of the thirteen colonies voted yay, with only New York abstaining.  The New York convention joined the other twelve on 9 July 1776, adopting the resolution and the declaration.

This is the text of the resolution voted upon on 2 July 1776:

The Com. of the whole Congreſs to whom was referred the reſolution and respe the Declaration reſpecting independence.____



That theſe^  colonies are and of right
ought to be free and independant 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

In modernised American English, that would appear as follows:

The Committee of the Whole Congress to whom was referred the Resolution and the Declaration respecting independence:


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.

It must be noted that although this is what was passed on 2 July 1776, it is not precisely what was proposed on 7 June 1776.  The complete resolution, as proposed that day, had three parts.  The resolution can be seen here:

This resolution reads as follows:


That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independant 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.

That it is expediant forthwith to take the
most effectual measures for forming foreign

That a plan of confederation be prepared
and transmitted to the respective Colonies for
their consideration and approbation.

Let us then compare the 7 June copy to the 2 July copy:

Not only must we acknowledge that these are indeed two separate copies, but moreover it seems readily apparent that the handwriting does not match between the two.

In any event, the second of July saw the birth of at least twelve new countries.  Two days later, the congress approved a declaration to the world acknowledging the independence of these states.  Approval for the second part of the Lee Resolution, the plan for forming alliances and making treaties, did not arrive until September of 1776.  Finally, the third part of the resolution, the plan for a confederation of these otherwise independent states, was delayed until November of 1777.