The vote for independence (video)

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On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted a resolution of independence from Great Britain. (The delegates from New York abstained from the vote).

The resolution had first been presented to Congress on June 7, but New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were unwilling to declare independence at that time, so Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal document outlining the arguments in support of such resolution and agreed to postpone any vote until July. The committee responsible for drafting the document outlining the arguments for independence included, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Their draft was first presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.

On July 1 Congress resumed debate on the resolution and passed it on July 2.  On July 4, 1776 Congress adopted an edited version of the Declaration of Independence, which explained the rationale for the July 2 vote in favor of independence.