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On This Day: 11 June 1776

Word of the defeat at the Battle of Trois-Rivieres had of course reached Philadelphia by the 11th of June and the ‘founding fathers’ started thinking they’d better move faster on some type of declaration of exactly what in the hell it was they were attempting to do.

Yankee Doodle 1776 by Archibald M. Willard
Corbis via Getty Images
Map Of The French And Indian Wars
Getty Images

Take a moment and put yourself in these guy’s place – just, environmentally speaking not to mention the lack of electricity and the internet….

It’s June in Philadelphia, you’re 70 miles from the Atlantic Coast at Atlantic City! It’s humid just as Lake Charles can be, but you’re wearing flannel jackets, and coats and two layers of underwear! Mosquitoes are starting to be a nuisance in the evenings and this is before any kind of solution for malaria, even quinine didn’t even exist!

The members of the Continental Congress understood they were at a make-or-break point as to whether they were going forward or running for the hills and desert the Army in the field and hide as best they could from the British, and as you know now, they didn’t run for the hills.

The Continental Congressmen deciding instead that the time to act was NOW and the item necessary and very soon was some kind of document to send to the King, some kind of declaration of sorts, summing up the grievances and what the colonist’s aims were with all this shooting kerfuffle was the past few months.

George Washington
Getty Images

So, in congress on this day in 1776 a resolution was passed that a ‘Committee of Five’ consisting of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston begin to draft the document that ultimately became the Declaration of Independence.

Remember at school when there was a ‘group project’ and everyone in the group kind of knew what to do and did indeed do certain things, but one person in the group was better at ‘writing it up?’ Well in the Committee of Five, Thomas Jefferson was the writer and developed the drafts for the document under pressure of the 17 day deadline before the next meeting.

The order for that to happen was unanimously made on this day in a smoky, smelly humid closed up room, June 11th in Philadelphia in 1776.

Walking home, Thomas Jefferson began thinking about how this should all be written up to show to the King.

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