June 7, 1776: Politics, heavy lifting and Richard Henry Lee

June 7, 2011

Thomas Jefferson got much of the glory, and we celebrate July 4.

We might learn about how politics works, and who does the heavy lifting, if we remember the full history.

Richard Henry Lee by Charles Wilson Peale

Richard Henry Lee by Charles Wilson Peale (wikimedia)

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia rose in the 2nd Continental Congress to propose a resolution calling for a declaration of independence of the thirteen colonies, from Britain.

Lee came to Philadelphia as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774, and was reappointed to the Second Continental Congress.

On June 7, 1776, Lee proposed a resolution which read in part:

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.

He had returned to Virginia by the time the Declaration of Independence was drafted and approved on July 2, but he signed the document when he returned to Congress.

Lee served as president of the Second Continental Congress (November 1784 to November 1785), and after the formation of the United States, as U.S. Senator from Virginia.  In the Senate, he was President pro tempore.

Richard Henry Lee's resolution calling for a declaration of independence - National Archives

Richard Henry Lee's resolution calling for a declaration of independence - image from the National Archives


About D-Day: View from 2011, “I can’t imagine what the world would look like if they’d failed”

June 7, 2011

At Metafilter, I found these comments on a D-Day thread, “Fading to yellow in a brown leather frame”:

  • When I was in 11th grade, the grandfather of one of my other students, who was at Normandy, came to talk to our history class about his experiences. He sobbed openly when he talked about storming the beaches and seeing what he thought were sand dunes, but were instead “waves” of corpses of those who had gone ahead of him. It was an experience which marked me deeply.
    posted by dhens at 7:40 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]
  • My Mum still remembers the sound of planes flying over southern England. She and her family were awakened early by the noise and knew the push has begun. She remembers people being very quiet and determined as they went about their day and most folks dropped into a church at some point.
    posted by pentagoet at 7:44 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]
  • My gran was shot at by the Luftwaffe. The bastards.
    We owe a huge debt to the people who went through it for us. I can’t imagine what the world would look like if they’d failed.
    posted by Summer at 7:59 AM on June 6

That last one’s worth repeating and remembering:

We owe a huge debt to the people who went through it for us. I can’t imagine what the world would look like if they’d failed.

Omaha Beach from the American Cemetery, June 6, 2004 - Sedulia blogs.com

Peace at Omaha Beach - Omaha Beach from the American Cemetery, June 6, 2004 - Sedulia blogs.com


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