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John Adams diary 27, 13 May - 10 September 1776
From the Adams Family Papers
The transcription of this entry (for 13-15 May 1776) from Adams's diary (diary 27, pages 1-4) is featured on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive website.
Online display of the diary.
A Pesky Preamble
On 10 May, Congress passes a resolution authorizing the creation of new governments in each colony. The resolution passes with little dissent, a sign that congressional opposition to independence is waning. On 15 May, however, John Adams proposes what many delegates consider a distressing preamble to the resolution. Designed to encourage the suppression of royal government in the colonies, the preamble is narrowly approved by Congress. Unlike the resolution, which proposes more limited action, the preamble seems to hurtle the colonies toward independence. John Adams records the fiery debates of 13-15 May in his diary. By 7 June, Congress will be debating another important resolution: Henry Lee's proposal that the colonies declare themselves free and independent of Britain.
Questions to Consider
1. James Duane of New York is the first person to offer commentary on the preamble in Adams' diary. He is arguing for or against the preamble? Use words and phrases from the diary to support your answer.
2. What is Samuel Adams' opinion of the preamble? of Mr. Duane's arguments?