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Series: You Are There
Show: Philadelphia - July 4, 1776
Date: Jul 04 1948

CAST:
JOHN DALY, CBS News
VOICE
ANNOUNCER
GEORGE FIELDING ELIOT, CBS News
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Virginia (3 lines)
JOHN ADAMS, Massachusetts
MAN (2 lines)
JOHN DICKINSON, Pennsylvania
KEN ROBERTS, CBS
MRS. AGNES HATCHER, young widow
RICHARD CASWELL, importer
SOLDIER (2 lines)
MAN IN CROWD
WOMAN IN CROWD (2 lines)
JOHN HANCOCK, Massachusetts
EDWARD RUTLEDGE, South Carolina (2 lines)
ELBRIDGE GERRY, Massachusetts (1 line)
NED CALMER, CBS News [pronounced KAL-mur]
GENERAL HOWE, British
BUD COLLYER, CBS
TOM, age seventeen; nervous
GEORGE WASHINGTON, grave and stately
CLERK
BARTLETT (1 line)
ELLERY (1 line)
SHERMAN (1 line)
WITHERSPOON (1 line)
FRANKLIN (1 line)
RODNEY (1 line)
and various CROWDS

SOUND:

NOISY STATE HOUSE CROWD ... THEN IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) This is John Daly at the State House in Philadelphia. A powerful opponent of the Declaration of Independence has emerged here on this fourth evening of July 1776 -- an opponent strong enough to rally the latent opposition to separation from the mother country. Mr. John Dickinson, Pennsylvania's leading delegate to the Continental Congress, has just told reporters that he intends to speak on the floor before the final vote is taken; this in a supreme effort to block this declaration which would commit our thirteen colonies to revolutionary war with England. Mr. Dickinson agreed that he is staking his political future on the outcome of the vote. He anticipates that if he fails to block passage of the Declaration of Independence, he will be ejected from the Congress and be removed-- (FADES OUT BEHIND--)

VOICE:

(ECHO) July fourth, 1776, the State House in Philadelphia: YOU ARE THERE!

ANNOUNCER:

John Dickinson, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson -- CBS takes you back to the evening when the colonial leaders fought their showdown battle on the issue of independence from England, with the fate of a continent hanging in the balance. All things are as they were then, except for one thing: when CBS is there--

VOICE:

(ECHO) YOU ARE THERE!

ANNOUNCER:

YOU ARE THERE is based on authentic historical fact and quotation. And now--

VOICE:

(ECHO) July fourth, 1776: the Philadelphia State House, and John Daly!

SOUND:

DURING ABOVE, FADES IN ... NOISY STATE HOUSE CROWD BACKGROUND

DALY:

(FADES IN WITH CROWD, NARRATES) --during the recess, which is now officially over. We hurried from the inn to this microphone here on the floor of the Congress to bring you this news. Mr. Dickinson has not arrived yet. He should be along at any minute, but meanwhile the news has preceded him and it's having an explosive effect on the delegates who are present.

As a matter of fact, the weather isn't helping things, either. It's very hot here in Philadelphia tonight, and in their heavy waistcoats, ruffles, and wigs, the delegates in the hall are perspiring profusely. Even more irritating are the horseflies from a nearby stable, which come in through the open windows. These flies are nasty; so much so that Mr. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the author of the Declaration, has said that it is not at all unlikely that this debate will be ended not by sharp logic of the delegates, but by the even sharper bite of the horseflies.

Major George Fielding Eliot has been talking to the delegates and is now ready with his analysis of the possibilities inherent in Mr. Dickinson's announcement, so I switch you now to our CBS headquarters booth here in the Congress. Come in, Major Eliot.

SOUND:

CUT TO QUIET TELETYPE BACKGROUND

ELIOT:

(NARRATES) Mr. Dickinson's views carry great weight here. His announcement therefore comes as a shock to those delegates who want the Declaration of Independence passed. Mr. John Adams from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, leader of the Independence Party, had hoped the Declaration would go through unanimously, but that's no longer possible. Indeed, the Declaration may not even pass.

Mr. Adams and Mr. Dickinson personify the present political conflict. Mr. Adams is the son of a Massachusetts lawyer. He was educated for the law in New England. He agrees with the men who dumped the East India Company's tea into Boston Harbor. Although Mr. Adams prides himself on being a plain man, the delegates regard him as arrogant and intolerant of all who differ with his views.

Mr. Dickinson, on the other hand, was born to wealth. He received his education at London's Middle Temple. He has a mild, amiable, sincere manner. He opposes independence because of his conviction that all political injustices can be righted by legal methods without recourse to violence or revolution. Just a moment! John Adams and Thomas Jefferson have entered the hall, so - back to John Daly.

SOUND:

CUT TO NOISY STATE HOUSE CROWD BACKGROUND

DALY:

(CALLS) Mr. Jefferson?! Mr. Jefferson?!

JEFFERSON:

(APPROACHES) Yes?

DALY:

Mr. Jefferson, you've heard the news that Mr. Dickinson will speak against independence. May we have your comment?

JEFFERSON:

(CAREFULLY) I - I have the greatest respect for Mr. Dickinson's courage and integrity. Mr. Adams and I wish we could say as much for his political judgment.

ADAMS:

(FURIOUS) This Congress, sir, is in no mood for any more of Mr. Dickinson's temporizing! In the course of this debate, the delegates have learned to know Mr. Dickinson for what he is: a spineless aristocrat at best; at worst an agent of the enemy.

DALY:

Well, Mr. Adams, we're very glad to have your comment also. Are you accusing Mr. Dickinson of being in the pay of the British?

JEFFERSON:

(DIPLOMATIC) I hardly think Mr. Adams--

ADAMS:

(INTERRUPTS) If you please, Mr. Jefferson! (TO DALY) Sir! Mr. Dickinson has consistently sabotaged the work of this body by fallacious appeals to reason and by parliamentary devices. But no more of that! The Declaration of Independence will be put to a vote as soon as President Hancock arrives and calls this meeting to order, and I am confident that the gentleman will be unable to sway the Congress from the course on which it is now well launched.

DALY:

Thank you, Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson. (NARRATES) The delegates are taking their seats, and as you must have gathered from Mr. Adams' remarks, the long-smoldering enmity between him and Mr. Dickinson has finally flared out into the open. The debate, when he and Dickinson clash on the floor, promises to be more violent than any this Congress has heard in the two years since it's been in existence.

MAN:

(OFF) Oh, Mr. Dickinson--!

DALY:

(NARRATES) Mr. Dickinson has just entered the hall and he has to pass our microphone. He's coming this way now. (CALLS) Mr. Dickinson, sir?! Mr. Dickinson?

DICKINSON:

(APPROACHES) Yes, sir?

DALY:

Mr. John Adams has just called you an agent of the enemy, Mr. Dickinson. Would you care to make--?

DICKINSON:

(INTERRUPTS, SMOOTH) Mr. Adams considers anyone who differs with him to be an agent of the enemy, but I cannot allow myself to be silenced by insults. The question is: shall our colonies declare themselves independent of the mother country? And on this question my opponents have been utterly dishonest.

DALY:

Will you explain that, Mr. Dickinson?

DICKINSON:

I certainly will. Eleven times in the past two years Congress pledged itself not to seek independence. In January of this year -- only six months ago -- the Congress passed a most solemn declaration to the effect that we Americans have no thought of setting up an independent nation. And now, tonight, Mr. Adams asks us to break our pledged word. Nay, he demands it!

DALY:

But if the people favor independence, Mr. Dickinson, are--?

DICKINSON:

(INTERRUPTS) Mr. Adams has confused the people. He has engineered coup d'├ętats in the provincial legislatures in order to pack -- to pack! -- this Congress with delegates favoring independence. He has organized gangs of hoodlums to roam the streets of the cities and towns attacking those who oppose revolution.

DALY:

But isn't it true, Mr. Dickinson, that at least fifty percent of the population favors independence?

DICKINSON:

Is it right for one half of the population to impose its views on the other half by terror? Can these colonies hope to achieve victory in a revolutionary war when half of the people oppose it? I predict that if the Congress passes the Declaration of Independence, the result will be civil war, useless bloodshed, and ruinous defeat.

MAN:

(OFF) True!

DICKINSON:

(MOVING OFF, TO DALY) Good afternoon, sir.

DALY:

Good afternoon, Mr. Dickinson. (NARRATES) The delegate from Pennsylvania is walking to his seat now. Mr. John Hancock, the president of the Congress, has entered the chamber, but it will very probably be a few moments yet before he calls the Congress to order. Mr. Dickinson said that a considerable portion of the people are opposed to independence. Well, Ken Roberts is outside the State House where a representative crowd of Philadelphians are awaiting the result of the vote, so let's find out what they think about independence. Go ahead, Ken Roberts!

SOUND:

CUT TO NOISY STREET CROWD BACKGROUND

ROBERTS:

With me at our CBS microphone is Mrs. Agnes Hatcher who lives on Water Street. Mrs. Hatcher, do you favor separation from England?

HATCHER:

I hate separation! My husband was killed fighting for separation.

ROBERTS:

Oh, I'm sorry.

HATCHER:

It's John Adams that should be sorry -- and Mr. Jefferson. Why don't they make peace and end this killing?

ROBERTS:

But, Mrs. Hatcher, would you want peace at any price?

HATCHER:

Will you tell me why my husband should die at Boston fighting the Bay Colony's battles? If the men of New England have a quarrel with the British, let them do the fighting and dying themselves!

ROBERTS:

But Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson say they want freedom for all the colonies.

HATCHER:

(ANGUISHED) I don't care about freedom! My husband is dead.

ROBERTS:

(BEAT) Thank you, Mrs. Hatcher. Now here beside me is Mr. Richard Caswell, an importer in Philadelphia. I forgot to ask you, Mr. Caswell -- what do you import?

CASWELL:

The finest of English woolens, sir; the very finest.

ROBERTS:

I see. And do you favor independence?

CASWELL:

This - this--

SOUND:

DURING ABOVE, GALLOPING HORSE APPROACHES AND STOPS ... CROWD REACTS AND MURMURS EXCITEDLY, IN BG

ROBERTS:

Excuse me, Mr. Caswell. (NARRATES) A dispatch rider has just ridden up to the State House. His horse is lathered and covered with dust and sweat. It looks as if he's been ridden long and hard. (CALLS, TO SOLDIER) Where are you from, soldier?!

SOLDIER:

(APPROACHES) New York, General Washington's headquarters.

ROBERTS:

What's the news there? What's happening?

SOLDIER:

(MOVING OFF) Plenty of excitement.

ROBERTS:

Wait a minute! Wait a minute, what's goin' on?! (NO ANSWER, NARRATES) The rider has gone into the State House. Whatever the news is, our reporters inside will bring it to you as soon as it's released. (TO CASWELL) I'm sorry about that interruption, Mr. Caswell.

CASWELL:

Quite all right, quite all right.

ROBERTS:

You were about to tell me whether you favored independence.

CASWELL:

It's an illusion, sir. Independence from what? How can we be independent? We're Englishmen. My family's English; they're all in England. All my trade, my business, is with England. Look at my books, you see? This talk about separation is ridiculous. Worse than ridiculous! It's vicious! It's ruining me. Ever since this war started, no shipments. No shipments! Percentages? Seventy-six percent less business than my firm did in '75.

ROBERTS:

But, Mr. Caswell, isn't it argued that if the colonies were independent, American businessmen could then trade with the entire world?

CASWELL:

Who wants to trade with the entire world? What do we need the world for? Everything we can produce, we can sell in England. And everything that we need we can buy from England. It's just common sense, that's all. How do you suppose the colonies have grown prosperous and strong and important? Protected trade with England! Protected trade!

ROBERTS:

Yes, but what about the heavy taxes that the mother country has imposed? What about taxation without representation?

CASWELL:

Er, bad. Bad, very bad. But independence? Worse, much worse! Terrible! What about Pitt and Burke in Parliament? We have friends in England. They're trying to settle this thing intelligently, without violence, without bloodshed. But Mr. Adams and Jefferson, those - those wild men in there-- Hotheads, radicals! That's what they are. They want to get power, that's all; power! That's all they're interested in, power!

ROBERTS:

Well, Mr. Caswell, independence is something--

CASWELL:

Independence -- the word sickens me.

MAN IN CROWD:

Listen to him.

CASWELL:

We've already become independent of principle and gratitude to the mother country.

WOMAN IN CROWD:

What's he sayin'?

CASWELL:

And if this war is permitted to continue, we shall become independent of cash, clothing, laws, and liberty, and-- Yes, yes, life itself!

MAN IN CROWD:

(ANGRY) What are you talking about?!

CASWELL:

(WITH CONTEMPT) Independent!

MAN IN CROWD:

You're a liar, that's what you are, mister! You're a Tory! A Tory!

CASWELL:

It may not be popular, but it's the truth!

WOMAN IN CROWD:

Shut up, you Tory, or we'll teach ya a lesson!

CASWELL:

I'm not afraid of you!

MAN IN CROWD:

This'll close your mouth!

SOUND:

FIST FIGHT! SCUFFLE! ANGRY VIOLENT CROWD VERSUS GRUNTING CASWELL, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

ROBERTS:

(NARRATES) Mr. Caswell has just been struck by some man [who stood next to him?]. The crowd here is manhandling Mr. Caswell. The men are flailing at him with their fists. They must be members of the Sons of Liberty. The women are tearing at Mr. Caswell's clothes, spitting at him. This crowd has gone wild and it's frightening. Mr. Caswell has been knocked to the ground; I can't see him, but I can hear his cries. The men are bending over him, swinging their fists, pounding--!

SOUND:

CUT TO GAVEL, WHICH BANGS THRICE ... QUIET MURMUR OF CROWD INSIDE STATE HOUSE, IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) This is John Daly inside the Continental Congress. We have interrupted Ken Roberts because President Hancock has just called the Congress to order. He's about to read the dispatch which has just arrived from General Washington's headquarters in New York. President Hancock.

HANCOCK:

(OVERLAPS SLIGHTLY WITH ABOVE) Gentlemen! This is the information contained in General Washington's dispatch. The news is grim indeed. A great British fleet is at this moment in New York Harbor. British Marines have seized Staten Island in the harbor and Redcoats are landing there by the thousands. General Washington advises that a British attack on New York City must be expected momentarily. The enemy appears to have overwhelming superiority in numbers and equipment. General Washington concludes with the statement that it may be impossible to defend New York City with the slender forces at his command. Gentlemen, the Congress will recess for five minutes.

SOUND:

GAVEL BANGS ONCE ... CROWD EXPLODES INTO NOISY, EXCITED SHOUTING AND TALKING, IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) Congress has again recessed. The sound of President Hancock's gavel has released a torrent of excitement and confusion, bordering virtually on panic. Delegates have risen from their seats. They are moving about the floor, talking to each other in loud voices, often shouting in their arguments. Mr. John Adams and Mr. Thomas Jefferson have rushed up to the chair. Mr. Adams is pale, agitated. Only Mr. Dickinson, of all the delegates here in the chamber, has remained seated. (CALLS) Mr. Rutledge?!

RUTLEDGE:

(OFF) Yes?

DALY:

Just a moment, sir! Here's Mr. Edward Rutledge, a delegate from South Carolina. Sir, what effect do you think the news of the British arrival will have on the independence vote?

RUTLEDGE:

It cannot [but] bear to have a profound effect. It will add force and logic to Mr. Dickinson's position.

DALY:

Thank you, Mr. Rutledge. Mr. Rutledge is one of Mr. Dickinson's supporters. Here is Mr. Elbridge Gerry, a delegate from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and an independence man. Mr. Gerry, what do you think of the announcement, sir?

GERRY:

(A LITTLE DITHERY) Frankly, I - I don't know what to think. Mr. Dickinson may well argue now that a declaration of independence may not be worth the paper it's written on. (MOVING OFF) But we must keep our heads. We must stand firm.

DALY:

Thank you, Mr. Gerry. (NARRATES) Major Eliot has more news from New York, so let's switch to him in our CBS headquarters booth. Come in, Major Eliot.

SOUND:

CUT TO QUIET TELETYPE BACKGROUND

ELIOT:

(NARRATES) We now know that the British fleet numbers one hundred and thirty vessels. The troops onboard are commanded by General Sir William Howe, one of England's ablest generals. The appearance of the fleet has thrown New York into disorderly confusion, and the legislature has withdrawn -- for safety -- to White Plains, thirty-five miles away. Our New York newsroom informs us that a short while ago, CBS correspondent Ned Calmer passed through the British lines on Staten Island under safe conduct to interview the British commander-in-chief. He made a tape recording of this interview that our New York newsroom will play for you now.

MUSIC &
SOUND: CUT TO BRITISH MARCHING BAND, SLIGHTLY OFF, IN BG

CALMER:

(NARRATES) This is the kitchen of a Staten Island farmhouse, which now serves as General Howe's headquarters. A regiment of Redcoats is on parade outside, marching to the music of a British military band. I can see them through an open window from where I'm standing. In their tight-fitting scarlet coats and long gaiters, these trim soldiers -- in perfect step to the music -- look like the veteran fighting men that they are. (TO HOWE) General Howe, sir, will you tell us how many such troops you have at your disposal?

HOWE:

(AN AIR OF EASY SUPERIORITY) Fourteen thousand on this island and an additional thirteen thousand under General Carleton on their way across Lake Champlain in upper New York.

CALMER:

You don't mind giving General Washington this information?

HOWE:

Why, not at all, not at all. Frankly, I doubt very much that it will make any difference if Washington knows it.

CALMER:

I take it then, General Howe, that you are completely confident of victory.

HOWE:

Naturally. Those men you see out there -- they are the conquerors of France and Spain. They're the finest troops in the world. They'll crush Washington's colonial militia men at the very first encounter -- utterly. Ha! Washington, poor fellow -- he's leading nothing but a rabble. They lack powder, guns. His officers are without experience. Washington himself is hardly what you might call, shall we say, a professional military man.

CALMER:

(A LITTLE DEFENSIVE) General Washington, sir, made quite a good showing in the war against the French.

HOWE:

Under English commanders, Mr. Carver.

CALMER:

(CORRECTS HIM) Calmer.

HOWE:

English commanders. Mr. Cawmer?

CALMER:

(CORRECTS HIM) Calmer. General Howe, you know of course that the Continental Congress is about to vote on independence from England. Would you care to comment on that, sir?

HOWE:

Yes. Yes, I would like to say something to that. I would like to say it as a friend and not as a soldier. I repeat, as a friend, because I think I have amply demonstrated my friendship for British America in the past by word and deed.

CALMER:

Yes, if I recall correctly, General Howe, you once stated publicly that you would never lead British troops against British Americans.

HOWE:

(A LITTLE EMOTIONAL) Why, of course, of course! But the situation has changed. The colonies are now being led by a pack of extremists! This rebellion by the mob must be crushed, and I have the forces with which to crush it: the greatest fleet and the most powerful force of soldiers ever assembled on American soil! (CHANGES TONE, CAREFULLY) I - I hope with all my heart that it will not be necessary to throw this array of military power into action. I pray that the counsel of the extremists will be rejected by the Continental Congress and that the advice of saner, more moderate men will prevail.

CALMER:

Thank you, General Howe.

SOUND:

CUT TO QUIET TELETYPE BACKGROUND

ELIOT:

(NARRATES) This is George Fielding Eliot in Philadelphia. The interview you have just heard was a tape recording made by Ned Calmer at British headquarters on Staten Island. The recess here in the Continental Congress continues. The delegates are confused, shaken. Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. Benjamin Franklin -- the leaders of the Independence Party -- are doing all they can to counteract the doubt and hesitation inspired by the news from New York. They are trying desperately to maintain their strength, to keep their pledged votes in line, and they are insisting that the final vote be taken tonight without regard for the situation in New York. On the other hand, a group of less militant delegates is urging postponement until we have more definite information from General Washington's headquarters. The commander-in-chief said in his dispatch that he fears that he may not be able to hold New York. The cautious delegates want to know for sure whether he will fight or surrender the city without a struggle. Our CBS correspondent Bud Collyer is now at General Washington's headquarters. He may have some last-minute information. Therefore we take you now to General Washington's headquarters in New York, Bud Collyer reporting.

SOUND:

CUT TO PARADE GROUND BACKGROUND ... BUGLE CALLS ... LARGE CROWD MURMURS UNCERTAINLY

COLLYER:

(NARRATES) I'm waiting here on a parade ground before General Washington's headquarters. The commander-in-chief has promised to answer my questions as soon as he comes out to address his troops, presumably to make some formal statement about the news of the British arrival. The bugles are blowing assembly; the men of the regiments are running to join their formations. I can see the flag of the First Massachusetts, I believe it is -- the Virginia Rifles, the Fifth Connecticut, and many others. But in all this mass of thousands of men I see very few men in uniform. Most of the troops are dressed in civilian homespun, and quite a few of them wear the fringed leather shirts which mark them as frontiersman. General Washington has still not come out on the parade ground. Oh, here's a militia man coming by. (CALLS) Soldier?! Soldier?!

TOM:

(IMPATIENT) Let me go. I've got to fall in.

COLLYER:

Just a few questions. You've got plenty of time.

TOM:

(STAMMERS) But I--

COLLYER:

What's your name, son?

TOM:

Tom Summers. Look, let me go, will you, mister? The sergeant'll give me all--

COLLYER:

That's all right, I'll fix it with General Washington for you. How old are ya, Tom?

TOM:

Er, seventeen.

COLLYER:

Uh huh. Ever seen any action against the British?

TOM:

No. No, not yet.

COLLYER:

Well, you'll probably see action soon right here in New York.

TOM:

(A LITTLE DEFENSIVE) Well, I ain't afraid if that's what you mean.

COLLYER:

How long have you been in the army, Tom?

TOM:

Two - two months. Look, please, mister -- ask me all your questions at once, will ya?

COLLYER:

All right, Tom, sure. How long are you in for?

TOM:

Well, I'm goin' back 'ome next month. That's when my three months are up.

COLLYER:

Oh?

TOM:

My papa enlisted me; wanted to make himself ten dollars.

COLLYER:

I see.

TOM:

Well, he got his ten dollars and I'm goin' 'ome next month.

COLLYER:

Uh huh.

TOM:

Well, there ain't nothin' wrong with that, you know.

COLLYER:

No.

TOM:

Some fellas enlisted for the money and then deserted without even servin' their three months.

COLLYER:

Well, yes, but, er-- What about independence, Tom? How do you feel about independence?

TOM:

Well, I - I don't know nothin' about that, honest, mister. I-- Oh, there's the general! (MOVING OFF) I gotta go!

SOUND:

DURING FOLLOWING, CROWD FALLS SILENT ... THEN A FEW OFFICERS SHOUT ORDERS, OFF ... THEN TROOPS MARCH IN FORMATION, OFF

COLLYER:

(NARRATES) General Washington is approaching the microphone. Wears his full dress uniform. His sword claps against the side of his leg as he walks. (TO WASHINGTON) General Washington, are you going to fight for New York?

WASHINGTON:

It is a difficult question. Frankly, I haven't made up my mind.

COLLYER:

If you elect to fight, General Washington, do you think you will be able to defend New York successfully?

WASHINGTON:

I will do my best and, God willing, we shall be successful. In any event, I would like to say to all the people: do not yield to panic.

COLLYER:

General, in view of the current situation, do you think the Declaration of Independence should be passed at this time?

WASHINGTON:

That must be decided by the Congress, in Philadelphia.

COLLYER:

Thank you, General Washington. (NARRATES) Commander-in-chief is walking away across the field now, shoulders slightly bent, his jaw thrust forward in the manner of a man who bears an enormous responsibility for which he is ill-prepared. This is Bud Collyer in New York. I return you now to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

SOUND:

CUT TO JOHN ADAMS SPEAKING INDECIPHERABLY TO CONGRESS, IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) This is John Daly at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This is the long-awaited climax of the debate on the Declaration of Independence. The Congress has reconvened and, because Mr. Dickinson asked to speak against the Declaration, Mr. Adams has also requested the floor. By agreement, the vote will take place when the two speakers have finished. Also by agreement before the session began, Mr. Adams is speaking first. He's exerting his utmost efforts to keep the votes pledged to independence from folding to Mr. Dickinson. Will he succeed? Well, we'll only know when the vote is taken. And now let's listen to Mr. Adams.

ADAMS:

(UP) --by proclaiming a declaration of independence, gentlemen, this Congress will be giving official recognition to a fact which already exists. Namely, that these colonies are -- actually, in fact -- independent of England! Yet some great brains counsel us to wait, to exercise caution. Do these cautious gentlemen plead for a postponement of a declaration of independence so that their Tory friends may have time to hatch plots and conspiracies against us?! Gentlemen, to delay is to play into the ends of the enemy, defeating the cause for which so much blood has already been shed. There must be no further delay. The people are ready. The people wait for the Congress to lead them. The hour has struck. The Congress must proceed now to a vote -- an affirmative vote -- on the Declaration of Independence!

SOUND:

CROWD CHEERS AND APPLAUDS ... THEN IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) Mr. Adams has left the rostrum. Mr. Dickinson is coming up to speak. Dickinson's face is pale; his fists are clenched. He's clearly marshaling all of his strength for a supreme effort of oratory. He's waiting now for the Congress to come to order. Mr. Dickinson.

SOUND:

GAVEL BANGS ... CROWD FALLS SILENT

DICKINSON:

Mr. President, I accuse my opponents of cynicism. They do not -- they cannot -- believe that these colonies will be able to endure as independent states. Their true goal is not independence. They exploit indignation against the mother country to further their own personal fortunes. Mr. President, my opponents make their appeal to the emotions. I make my appeal to intelligence and logic. Mr. President, British troops are on Staten Island in overwhelming force. They are about to attack New York. General Washington's task would be difficult at best, but a declaration of independence now will serve only to divide the people of New York and make the defense of that city hopeless! Pass the Declaration and you will set brother against brother, father against son. The colonies will become not only the scene of warfare with the mother country, but civil war as well! And in the bloody, senseless fratricidal struggle, there is no possibility of success! Proclaim independence this evening, gentlemen, and you gain nothing! You merely invite the whirlwind of destruction! I urge you to vote against! I beg, I plead, I beseech you! Vote against! A-gainst independence!

SOUND:

CROWD EXPLODES, CLAMORING FOR THE VOTE ... GAVEL BANGS, BUT CROWD CONTINUES IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) Mr. Dickinson's plea has been received without applause. The delegates are calling the question and there seems to be no objection. Oh, but wait a minute! Several of the delegates have risen. (BEAT) However, they're not going to ask for the floor. These delegates are leaving the hall. Four. Five. There go three more. Others are leaving also and I can recognize some of them as men who have been openly undecided. Apparently, they're unwilling to vote, caught on the horns of a dilemma, swayed no doubt both by Mr. Adams and Mr. Dickinson.

SOUND:

GAVEL BANGS ... CROWD FALLS SILENT BEHIND--

DALY:

(NARRATES) This is a great, a fearful moment of decision. Some of these men are apparently not capable of facing up to it. President Hancock.

HANCOCK:

--resolution embodying the Declaration of Independence. The vote will be by colonies, each colony voting as a unit. A majority will decide. The clerk will call the roll.

DALY:

(NARRATES) Twelve votes will be cast; New York has decided to abstain, thus seven votes will carry the issue.

CLERK:

New Hampshire, Mr. Josiah Bartlett.

BARTLETT:

New Hampshire votes unanimously for independence!

CLERK:

Massachusetts, Mr. John Adams.

ADAMS:

The patriots of Massachusetts vote unanimously for independence!

CLERK:

Rhode Island, Mr. William Ellery.

ELLERY:

Independence!

CLERK:

Connecticut, Mr. Roger Sherman.

SHERMAN:

Independence. Unanimous.

CLERK:

New Jersey, the Reverend Dr. Witherspoon.

WITHERSPOON:

Mr. President, in my judgment, the country is not only ripe for independence, but is in danger of becoming rotten for want of it! New Jersey votes unanimously for independence!

CLERK:

Pennsylvania, Mr. Benjamin Franklin.

FRANKLIN:

The majority of the delegation from Pennsylvania votes for separation from England, so help us God.

CLERK:

Delaware, Mr. Caesar Rodney.

RODNEY:

Delaware votes unanimously for independence!

SOUND:

CLERK AND DELEGATES CONTINUE WITH THE ROLL CALL AND VOTING, INDECIPHERABLY IN BG

DALY:

(NARRATES) The Declaration of Independence is passed. Delaware has cast the deciding vote. There's no reaction from the delegates and the voting continues. It will very probably be unanimous by colony. Many of the individual delegates are shaking their heads. However, no matter what may be said against the Declaration, this document is impressive. It reads well. It begins, "When in the course of human events change is necessary," and then continues, and I quote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness-- (FADES OUT BEHIND--)

VOICE:

(ECHO, A SUMMATION) July fourth, 1776! John Dickinson loses his fight to block the Declaration of Independence and the thirteen colonies go forward to establish the United States of America. ...