History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

AMERICA IN ALLIANCE WITH
FRANCE.

CHAPTER I.
CAN THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE?
JULY–AUGUST 1776.

THE American declaration of independence was the beginning of new ages. It disembarrassed the people of the United States from the legal fiction of allegiance to a king against whom they were in arms, and set before them a well-defined, single, and inspiring purpose. It changed the contest from a war for the redress of grievances to the creation of a self-governing commonwealth. Hope whispered the assurance of unheard-of success in the pursuit of public happiness through faith in the rights of man.

Before receiving the declaration, the convention of Maryland, on the sixth of July, yielded to “the dire necessity” of renouncing the king who had violated his compact, and “conjured every virtuous citizen to join cordially in maintaining the freedom of Maryland and her sister colonies.”

Two days later, the committee of safety and that of inspection at Philadelphia marched in procession to the state-house, where the declaration was read to the battalions of volunteers and a concourse of the inhabitants of the city and county. The emblems of royalty were then burnt amid the acclamations of the crowd, and peals from the state-house bell proclaimed “liberty throughout the land.”

“With the certainty of immediate war the congress of New Jersey, in presence of the committee of safety, the militia un-

-3-

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