John Adams looks back on Common Sense , Autobiography, early 1800s, selection. When Common Sense appeared, John Adams was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In his autobiography, written a quarter century later, he described his response to the pamphlet and its startling popularity. Common Sense burst upon the scene like a "disastrous meteor" that would undermine the deliberative work of the Congress. "I dreaded the effect so popular a pamphlet might have among the people," he wrote to his wife Abigail, "and determined to do all in my Power to counteract the effect of it." One counter-action he took was to publish an anonymous rebuttal entitled Thoughts on Government (see Supplemental Sites). Why would Adams, who agreed that independence was inevitable, react with such dismay to Paine's pamphlet? How did he convey his concern to Paine directly? How did Paine respond? In the early 1800s, how did Adams characterize the pamphlet's ultimate influence on the Revolution? (3 pp.)
In 1775, in response to a set of essays by Daniel Leonard (writing under the pen name "Massachusettensis") defending Hutchinson's arguments for the absolute authority of Parliament over the colonies, Adams (writing as "Novanglus") composed a series of essays addressed to the people living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In them, he gave a point-by-point refutation of Leonard's essays, and then provided one of the most extensive and learned arguments made by the colonists against British imperial policy. It was a systematic attempt by Adams to describe the origins, nature, and jurisdiction of (unwritten) British concepts of constitutionality. Adams used his wide knowledge of English and colonial legal history to argue that the provincial legislatures were fully sovereign over their own internal affairs, and that the colonies were connected to Great Britain only through the king.  
Accounts of shoeless continental army soldiers leaving bloody footprints in the snow or going hungry in a land of abundance are all too accurate. Take, for example, the experience of Connecticut’s Private Martin. While serving with the Eighth Connecticut Continental Regiment in the autumn of 1776, Martin went for days with little more to eat than a handful of chestnuts and, at one point, a portion of roast sheep’s head, remnants of a meal prepared for those he sarcastically referred to as his “gentleman officers.” Ebenezer Wild, a Massachusetts soldier who served at Valley Forge in the terrible winter of 1777-78, would recall that he subsisted for days on “a leg of nothing.” One of his comrades, Dr. Albigence Waldo, a Continental Army surgeon, later reported that many men survived largely on what were known as fire cakes (flour and water baked over coals). One soldier, Waldo wrote, complained that his “glutted Gutts are turned to Pasteboard.” The Army’s supply system, imperfect at best, at times broke down altogether; the result was misery and want.
"The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!"
... Patrick Henry
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