A Spirited Manifesto
As Congress meets in Philadelphia, British troops clash with New England regiments at the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775. When Congress learns of the battle one week later, even delegates who favor reconciliation are forced to reconsider their position. This is no time to be humble--a forceful American response is necessary. Thomas Jefferson drafts an initial statement describing America's position, which is then rewritten by moderate Pennsylvania delegate John Dickinson. Surprisingly, Dickinson's version, which is approved by Congress on 6 July 1775, is even more forceful than Jefferson's first draft. In a letter to James Warren later that day, Massachusetts delegate John Adams calls the Declaration a "spirited manifesto."