Lee Resolution

What is It?
On June 7, 1776 Virginia stateman Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution to the Second Continental Congress, proposing that the American colonies declare independence from British rule. Many believed that the move was premature and a vote on the measure was postponed until July.

Yet, there were those who believed that independence was inevitable, and so a committee of five, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman, was appointed on June 11 and tasked with drafting a Declaration of Independence.

On July 2, 1776 Continental Congress adopted the Lee Resolution, declaring the American colonies free and independent states and are “absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.”

Timeline: The Road to Independence

June 7, 1776 – Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee introduces the Lee Resolution to the Second Continental Congress.

June 11, 1776 – Congress appoints a committee to draft a declaration of independence
July 2, 1776 – first part of the Lee Resolution (calling for independence) passes, with 12 of the colonies voting yes. New York voted no at that time, but on July 9, a newly elected NY Convention upheld the Declaration.

“Resolved, 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.”

-Lee Resolution

July 4 – Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence.
July 4 – Dunlap prints 150-200 broadsides
July 16 – Broadside arrives in Exeter and is read by John Taylor Gilman