Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 1: Independence
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8 Segment 9

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Thomas Jefferson
Segment 6
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From Pennsylvania came a political leader and a world renowned scientist. It was the man who wrote that mocking poem about England—Benjamin Franklin. From Rhode Island came Stephen Hopkins See It Now - Stephen Hopkins, who didn't let his palsy stop him. New York sent wealthy Philip Livingston. North Carolina's Joseph Hewes See It Now - Joseph Hewes was against separation from Great Britain. He would be convinced that the fight for freedom was worthwhile. But all eyes were on the Virginia delegation when Colonel George Washington arrived. Hear It Now - George Washington "For my part, I shall not undertake to say where the line between Great Britain and the colonies should be drawn," Washington had said, "but I am clearly of the opinion that one ought to be drawn. The crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights."

Also from Virginia was the dashing, aristocratic Richard Henry Lee See It Now - Richard Henry Lee, who had lost some fingers in a hunting accident and kept a silk handkerchief wrapped around that hand and pointed with it when he spoke. At six feet four inches, Virginia's Benjamin Harrison See It Now - Benjamin Harrison was the tallest at the convention. Another large Virginian, Peyton Randolph See It Now - Peyton Randolph, left when called to the Virginia legislature. That body still seemed more important to many Virginians than any group effort. Randolph's young cousin, Thomas Jefferson See It Now - Thomas Jefferson, took his place.

As the delegates at the Second Continental Congress began discussion in May 1775, a messenger on horseback brought a letter from Boston. The patriots were pleading for Congress to take over their forces. The minutemen who fought at Lexington and Concord were gathered near Boston. Others had come from the countryside with rifles and muskets. If someone didn't take charge of the army they would all go home.

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In early America, inns were often crowded, and travelers were expected to share beds. It happened to Ben Franklin and John Adams one night in 1776 when, "but one bed could be procured for Dr. Franklin and me in a chamber little larger than the bed." Adams with his fussy ways wanted to close the window (most doctors at this time thought the night air foul and dangerous). Adams wrote in his diary, " 'Oh,' said Franklin, 'don't shut the window, we shall be suffocated!' I answered that I was afraid of the evening air."

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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