A Time to Rend
An Essay on the Decision for American Independence
AUTHOR: Head, John M.
PUBLISHER: Wisconsin Historical Society
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From the spring of 1774 through the summer of 1776, colonial American struggled with the question of whether they should strive to maintain their liberties within the British Empire or declare the colonies as an independent republic. The burden of decision weighed heavily on the Americans, and even the chaos and heightened emotions induced by civil war did not goad them to rash or desperate action. However weighty the decision may have been for most Americans, it proved doubly so for the delegates of the colonies assembled in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress. For the formal and irrevocable resolution of the question of empire or independence fell to those delegates and not to the people at large. Given the monumental nature of the issue before them and the diversity of colonial America, it is not surprising that the delegates to Congress emphatically disagreed on the resolution of the issue.
"A Time to Rend" is a new interpretation of the critical conflict that took place in the Continental Congress, and offers a new approach for analysis of that conflict. Professor Head focuses attention on the social context of the respective colonies and shows the relationship of the social context to the position taken by colonial delegations. By treating four colonial leaders in depth, the author also clarifies the nature of the dispute in the Congress and points out the variety of opinion on the meaning of independence for colonial Americans."
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/15/1968